Tankless or traditional water heaters – which is better?

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When your water heater goes bad, the last thing you want to do is spend a lot of time trying to figure out what type of a water heater you want to use to replace your system. When your water heater goes out, likely the only thing on your mind is getting it fixed fast. No one likes a cold shower and purchasing a new water heater is a big decision, so this article can help you understand the difference between traditional water heaters and tankless options.

So what’s the difference and which is better?

What you probably have now is a tank water heater. These are the “traditional” units that store water in a big holding cylinder, or tank, heat it with gas, and then send it to your shower or sink when you turn on the faucet or shower head. Each time you wash laundry or dishes (or yourself), you’re using some of that pre-heated water from the tank.

Tankless water heaters operate on-demand. They only heat water when you’re ready for it, instead of keeping it warm in a tank. When you turn the water on, cool water flows through the tankless water heater and it’s heated instantly as it makes its way to where you need it. There’s no waiting for the water to heat – the end function, or what you feel at the end of the faucet or shower, is the same in both.

What are the pros and cons of each?

You’ve already experienced a negative of a tanked water heater if you are the last one to take a shower after all the kids are done. Running out of hot water can be a problem with a tanked hot water heater. With tankless you never run out because the water is heated on demand, so you can volunteer to be at the end of your whole family’s “shower time,” if you want to.

On the flip side, some tankless water heaters struggle to keep up with demand if you’re using hot water in simultaneous places, like the dishwasher, in the laundry and taking a shower. Truth be told, traditional water tanks often have trouble in this situation, too! To avoid this, you can install multiple water tanks of either the tankless or tanked variety.

Another negative for the traditional water heaters is they do take up an awful lot of space in your basement. A tankless can fit on a wall or in a closet.

The biggest positive on a tankless water heater is that it is super energy efficient. Your gas or electric bill will definitely come down; because you’re not paying to keep a tank full of water hot all day and night. With this said, tankless units are more expensive, so you definitely have to factor cost into your debate.

Planning ahead!

You may not know when your tank is going to go out, but you can be sure you explore your options and have a plan in place when it comes to replacement. That way at the first sign of a cold shower, you know what you want and can give us a call to get installed right away.