30 Apr Tank vs. Tankless Water Heaters
A water heater can impact your life more than you realize! You probably know what it’s like to be in the middle of taking a shower, hair covered with shampoo, and all the sudden the water turns freezing cold. This is all due to your water heater. Water heaters can also affect your utility bills, and maybe even your home storage and decor choice. Because tankless water heaters are known for being efficient and smaller in terms of their size, many people think tankless is always better. But, in some cases, tankless is not the best way to go, and a tank water heater is a more practical choice. Below we weigh the pros and cons of each option.
Tank Storage Water Heaters
- Price: Depending on the type and size, the average cost for a 40- to 50-gallon tank at about $900.00.
- Installation: Tank water heaters are relatively easy to install, and installation typically only takes a few hours. They are generally installed indoors as they cannot tolerate harsh weather conditions. They are often installed in inconspicuous locations such as a closet or garage due to their large size. The tanks come in electric, natural gas, and propane models. Remember, the gas models will still work during a power outage!
- Life Span: Between 10-15 Years
- How they work: The job of the tank-type heater is not only to heat the water, but to store it until it’s ready to use. Therefore, in addition to the tank’s heating system, every tank is equipped with insulation to help keep the water warm between heating cycles. Tank water heaters typically hold between 20 and 80 gallons of hot water (around 120 degrees Fahrenheit) at one time.
- Lower Initial Cost
- Easy installation
- Easy and inexpensive to replace
- In an emergency, you have a fresh water supply in the tank
- Higher utility bill
- Bigger and harder to place
- Can run out of hot water
- Shorter lifespan
- If the heater malfunctions, gallons of water could leak or escape from the tank
If you have a timeline or budget constraints that prevent you from getting a tankless system, a tank heater may be the way to go. If your home runs strictly on electricity, you must carefully consider whether going tankless is worth it. If the extra costs of installing a tankless system are going to outweigh your potential savings, you may want to consider a tank system or a high-efficiency tank system.
Tankless Water Heaters
- Price: Varies dramatically depending on type, brand and your home. The average cost is about $3,000.00.
- Installation: Tankless water heaters are smaller, so they require less space in your home. Installation can be more difficult for a tankless water heater, as you may need to upgrade your home’s electrical system to support the unit, or you may need to run a dedicated gas line to your gas-powered unit.
- Life Span: 20 or more years
- How they work: Tankless systems heat your water on demand using gas or electric coils. Although tankless water heaters heat water on demand, they do have output limits on their flow rate. This means, if you’re running the dishwasher, doing the laundry, and taking a shower simultaneously, your heater may not be able to produce hot water fast enough.
- Less energy consumption
- Longer lifespan
- Smaller Size-Space saving
- Delivers hot water on demand
- Tankless heaters typically offer longer warranties
- Expensive upfront equipment and installation costs
- Limit to how much water can be delivered at once
- Hard water destroys them
- Use electricity
- May need to make major changes to your home to accommodate a tankless unit
If you have gas available in your home and you can install an optimal tankless unit without too much additional cost, a tankless unit can be a great money saver. Also, if you live in an area where most of the homes are upgrading to tankless units, it may be a good idea to do the same, so your property remains in comparable condition to the rest of the area homes (from a real estate standpoint).
On- Demand tankless heaters that go under sinks, near showers, or near washing machines can also be great options for those who live in tiny homes or RVs.
Do you need a permit to replace your water heater?
Regardless of what type of water heater you decide to install, a permit is ALWAYS required! Building codes are constantly changing, so the installation of a new water heater should meet current codes for safety purposes. There are a few instances when two or more permits may be required.
Plumbing permit– You need a plumbing permit for the water heater itself. You will also need a plumbing permit should you need to add, extend, or modify any existing water lines to install the new water heater.
Electrical permit– If there are situations where you have to make electrical modifications or changes, then an electrical permit may be required. For instance, if the breaker and wire size is too small to carry the electrical load of the new water heater, then a permit may be required to make the changes.