When it comes to investing in the comfort and safety of your home, there are few issues that are more important to address than your water heater. After all, it’s the source for all of the hot water you use to wash dishes and clothes with, bathe in, clean around the house, and more. Without your hot water heater, you would certainly be living much differently than you are now!
If you are thinking about replacing an aging water heater, you have some important options to consider. Chief among these is deciding whether you want to go with a traditional storage-tank water heater or a tankless water heater. Let’s discuss both of these types of water heaters and how they differ from each other.
What Is a Tankless Water Heater?
As you might have guessed, the defining feature of a tankless water heater is the fact that it doesn’t store heated water in a large cylindrical tank.
In fact, a tankless water heater doesn’t store heated water at all. Instead, it heats water on-demand by flowing it through a heat exchanger that uses high-powered burners that fire up whenever you need hot water. From there, the heated water travels to wherever it’s needed in your home.
Tankless water heaters can be powered by either natural gas or electricity, but unlike storage tank water heaters, they don’t need to constantly heat water. This makes them much more energy-efficient than their counterparts, allowing homeowners to save on energy costs over their lifespans, which can exceed 20 years.
Some think that makes up for the relatively greater initial cost of affording a tankless water heater. While storage tank water heaters cost less upfront, they can cost a lot of money to run over the years when their energy consumption is taken into account.
It’s also important to note that tankless water heaters can only heat so much water at any given time. You may find it difficult to get a sufficient amount of hot water to more than two destinations that require it at any given time. That means
How Are Storage Tank Water Heaters Different?
When it comes to heating water in a home, storage tank water heaters have been the status quo for decades. You probably already have one in your house, so you’re probably no stranger to them.
Typically, storage tank water heaters consistently heat and store 30 or 50 gallons of water for use at any given time. Whether you need a 30-gallon or a 50-gallon water heater tank depends upon the size of your home and how much hot water you use on a daily basis.
A single-family home consisting of two people can probably get by with a 30-gallon tank, but a 50-gallon water heater storage tank is recommended for larger households. Unlike tankless water heaters, storage tank units can supply hot water to several different locations at once without sacrificing temperature, but only for as long as the hot water supply in the tank lasts.
Like their tankless counterparts, storage tank water heaters can use either electricity or natural gas. Those that use natural gas, however, use nearly 50 percent less energy. Even though this results in lower energy costs than electric, storage tank water heaters are always running. That means they will probably cost more to operate than a tankless water heater if both are used similarly.
Because storage tank water heaters are expected to last only 10 to 15 years, homeowners can expect to replace them at least once or even twice after the unit they moved in with fails. They are also susceptible to rust, which can eventually cause leaking or – in exceedingly rare cases – water heater explosions, which is a risk that tankless units do not share.
Which Type of Water Heater Is Best for My Home?
There is no objective answer to this question because it often comes down to what an individual homeowner’s needs and goals are.
If you need to ensure your family of four or more people always has the hot water it needs, a storage tank unit will probably suit you best – and a large one, at that! If you are concerned about energy usage and cost, a tankless water heater will probably meet your needs if it’s just you and one other person in a smaller home.
You may even find that your home is built to accommodate a storage-tank water heater better than a tankless one. Although tankless water heaters often hang on walls and tank up much less space than storage tank units, you may not have the suitable space to install one.
If you’re looking for the best type of water heater that works for you, you should consult with a professional plumber like ours at Paws Plumbing. We’re familiar with water heaters of all kinds and can provide advice and guidance on selecting the type that meets your needs. We can even help you purchase and install the water heater you select when the time comes!
For more information about all of our services, contact Paws Plumbing online or by calling (858) 252-1670.