Traditional tank vs tankless water heaters
September 24, 2015

Looking to upgrade to a new water heater?

You may be wondering if you should just upgrade to a better tank water heater or go tankless.

To help you decide, consider these important factors:

  1. How well it provides hot water
  2. Installation space needed
  3. Life expectancy
  4. Energy efficiency
  5. Upfront costs

We'll briefly cover each. Regardless of which you choose, if you live in the Lawton, Oklahoma, Pippin Brothers can install any type of water heater you need.

1) How well it provides hot water

Tank water heater: Provides hot water consistently, but not endlessly. Once the tank runs out of hot water, you'll have to wait for it to heat more.

Tankless water heater: Can provide hot water endlessly but not always consistently.

Here's what we mean: When the weather isn't too cold and you're only using a few hot water appliances, a tankless water heater can provide hot water endlessly.

But as outdoor temperatures drop and/or your family uses too many hot water appliances at the same time, tankless water heaters struggle to provide hot water.

Proper sizing, however, can help overcome these issues. Talk to your installer about your hot water needs so they can find the tankless water heater size you need.

2) Installation space needed

Tank water heater: Tank water heaters are already pretty large. But due to recent government regulations, they're even larger. New tank water heaters will have more insulation, making them 2 inches taller and 2 inches larger in diameter. This size increase makes it harder for installers to get them into smaller spaces (like attics or closets).

Tankless water heater: Tankless water heaters are briefcase-sized so they can fit in tighter spaces.

3) Life expectancy

Tank water heater: 10-15 years, according to Energy.gov
Tankless water heater: 20+ years, according to Energy.gov

Of course, these numbers will be significantly lower if the water heaters are not professionally maintained annually.

4) Energy efficiency

Tank water heater: Costs more to run than a tankless water heater.

As of 2015, the minimum efficiency rating for a gas-fired tank water heater is 0.675, meaning that it uses 67.5% of the fuel to heat the water, and the rest goes up the flue pipe.

Tankless water heater: Costs less to run than a tank water heater.

As of 2015, the minimum efficiency rating for a gas-fired tankless water heater is 0.82, meaning that it uses 82% of the fuel to heat the water, and the rest goes up the flue pipe.

Energy.gov estimates that, "a typical family can save $100 or more per year with an ENERGY STAR qualified tankless water heater. However, these savings typically don't save you enough money to outweigh the extra upfront cost.

5) Upfront costs

Tank water heater: Usually costs less to buy and install than tankless water heaters. Installation cost may rise if the new tank is larger than your current one and therefore difficult to install.

Tankless water heater: Usually costs more to buy and install than tank water heaters. Actual prices vary, but you can expect the total cost to be 2-3 times more expensive than a tank water heater.

Which water heater should you buy?

Do you want endless hot water and can afford the extra upfront cost? If so, upgrade to a tankless water heater.

If you can't afford the extra upfront cost and you feel like you're already getting enough hot water, stay with a tank water heater. Simple as that.

Need installation estimates for both tank and tankless water heaters?

Contact Pippin Brothers for free water heater installation estimates.

Pippin Brothers is the Lawton-area's most trusted heating, air conditioning and plumbing company. We've been serving Oklahoma since 1978. Contact us for more information.