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Which Is Better: Tankless or Traditional Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters have become incredibly popular in recent years. However, traditional water heaters with a storage tank are still the most common. Our customers often ask us which type of water heater is better and if tankless water heaters live up to their reputation and are worth the investment. Ultimately, the matter comes down to your home's setup, your goals, and personal preference.

Keep reading to learn how both types of water heaters work and their respective benefits and drawbacks.

How Tankless Water Heaters Work

To produce hot water on demand, tankless water heaters rely on an innovative heating unit that instantly heats water as it passes through the heat exchanger. The water then passes through a mixing valve, where it is adjusted to your desired temperature. Tankless water heaters come in both gas-fired and electric models. They also come in several sizes and capacities for a wide range of applications.

Keeping your tankless water heater in good working order is as simple as scheduling annual maintenance with one of our plumbers. During your maintenance visit, your plumber will change and/or clean the water heater's air and water filters and check that it is operating correctly. You may also need to flush the system to reduce buildup from hard water.

The Benefits of Tankless Water Heaters

One of the main selling points for tankless water heaters is the amount of space they save. Because they heat water instantly, they do not require a large storage tank and therefore can be installed in relatively small areas, freeing up room in your home. They also have a longer lifespan than traditional water heaters. Tankless models can last for around 20 years, while conventional water heaters may only last approximately 10-15 years. Therefore, you will spend less money on water heater replacements over time.

Many people switch to tankless water heaters because they provide an unlimited supply of hot water. If you have a large family or are frequently running out of hot water when you need it, a tankless water heater will likely solve your problem.

The Drawbacks of Tankless Water Heaters

Though tankless water heaters are compact and deliver hot water on demand, they are typically more expensive than traditional water heaters. Additionally, depending on your home's setup, you may need to upgrade your electrical panel or your gas line to accommodate the new water heater. You also may have heard that tankless water heaters can help you save money on energy costs, and while this is true, it can take several years before you start seeing a return on your investment.

How Storage Tank Water Heaters Work

Conventional water heaters come in both gas and electric models, and they store heated water in an external water tank so that you have hot water when you need it. Because they rely on a storage tank, they must work continuously to keep the water at the pre-set temperature. As you use hot water, the tank refills, heating the new water to the desired temperature.

The Benefits of a Traditional Water Heater

Storage tank water heaters are generally less expensive than tankless models to purchase and install. Tanks also come in various sizes so that you can select the model and size that best meets your needs. Installation is often quick and easy and typically does not require electrical panel or gas line changes.

The Drawbacks of a Traditional Water Heater

The biggest drawback to storage tank water heaters is their size. They tend to take up a lot of space in your home, which can be very frustrating, especially if you have limited space to work with. Additionally, if you run out of hot water, you are left waiting for the tank to refill and reheat. This can take several hours. Tankless water heaters are also better at regulating water temperature. Finally, storage tank water heaters are not as energy-efficient as tankless models, which is a concern if you are looking to reduce your energy consumption.

Questions about which type of water heater is right for your home? Consult our Indiana plumbing experts today!