Traditional tank vs tankless water heaters
October 7, 2011

Heating the hot water in your house accounts for nearly 30% of your energy budget. So finding an efficient, cost-effective way to heat your house can reap real rewards. Tankless water heaters offer both point-of-use as well as whole-house solutions.

How Do They Work?
Have you ever been the last in line for a shower and had to settle for cold water? This happens when you run out of heated water. Traditional water heaters heat water in bulk and keep it in a reservoir, or tank, so it is ready when needed. Traditional water heaters are always on and always heating the water, even when you're not home or not using hot water. For this reason, they are often seen as energy wasters.

In contrast, tankless water heaters heat the water only when you need it. An electric coil or gas burner heats the water as it passes through the unit, eliminating the need for a storage tank and providing an endless supply of hot water.

What Are The Benefits?
Because tankless water heaters only run when there is a demand for hot water, they are more energy efficient. In homes that use less than 41 gallons of hot water per day, tankless water heaters are 24% - 24% more efficient, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Tankless water heaters are 8% - 14% more energy efficient in homes that use around 86 gallons of hot water, daily.

While traditional water heaters typically last for about 10 years, a properly maintained tankless water heater can last 5 to 10 years longer.

Size is yet another advantage tankless water heaters hold over traditional water heaters. Without a large storage tank, tankless water heaters are much smaller in size. This can prove very beneficial in storage-challenged apartments or condos.

How Do I Choose One?
Tankless water heaters are available in propane, natural gas or electric. There are also two types of tankless water heaters you can choose from: point-of-use and whole-house heaters. Point-of-use water heaters can be especially useful for an outside sink or in other small places.

When shopping for a tankless water heater for your whole house, there are a few things to consider. First, electric whole-house water heaters are not recommended because they are not efficient. Next, if you need the ability to run several showers simultaneously or run the washer and shower at the same time, multiple tankless water heaters may be the way to go. If you need additional help determining which route is best for your situation, contact a trained specialist.

If you're considering a tankless water heater, and want to know more about your options, contact Pippin Brothers Plumbing, your local water heater experts!