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Traditional Water Heater vs Tankless Water Heater

The purchase of an appliance as important to your household as a water heater requires the careful assessment of many factors. Your requirements for hot water supplies, the energy efficiency of the water heater, and the general cost of operation are among the points that require consideration. Perhaps the most basic question is whether you should choose a traditional water heater or a tankless model. Here’s a brief comparison of the two styles and how they will affect your home life, energy consumption and monthly expenses.

  • Traditional water heater: A standard water heater uses electrical heating elements or fuel-based burners to heat water to desired temperatures. The hot water is then stored in an internal tank until it is needed. The unit maintains a limited supply of hot water for household needs such as cooking, cleaning or bathing. A major disadvantage of these systems is that water stored in the tank can gradually cool off, losing the heat energy that you’ve already paid for and requiring the expenditure of more energy to re-heat the water to the desired temperature. Tank-style water heaters can also leave you without hot water in the middle of a task if the hot water in the tank runs out.
  • Tankless water heater: A tankless water heater, also called an instantaneous or on-demand water heater, produces hot water when its needed. When hot water is called for, heating elements or gas burners heat the water to the desired temperature before it is delivered to the kitchen or bathroom faucet. There is no tank used for water storage, so there is no chance of the energy losses that can occur in a tank-style unit. This reduces the heater’s cost of operation significantly and saves both energy and money. Tankless water heaters are usually more expensive to purchase and install, but their high efficiency means their cost will be recovered relatively quickly.

Meyer’s serves HVAC customers in northwestern Indiana and southern Chicago, including Gary, Munster, Griffith and Highland. Contact us today for more information on selecting a water heater and for help choosing between a traditional tank-style heater or a tankless model.