Traditional Water Heater vs. Tankless Water Heater

If you’re buying a hot water heater for the first time in a long while, you might notice that there are some more options floating around than there were in the past. Should you stick to the faithful standard with your tank reservoir hot water heater, or is moving to tankless the better option? Follow along with the experts at McAllister while we compare the two!

What Is a Tankless Hot Water Heater?

We’ve been covering this point quite a bit lately, but just to give you the bare bones, a tankless system is one that uses a high powered element to deliver hot water on demand. There’s no reservoir tank like a traditional water heater, and instead the system produces hot water on the spot when you turn on a faucet or shower.

Naturally there are some pretty big benefits in this system, which we’ll go over in a moment. But just because they have some clear advantages doesn’t mean they beat a traditional unit in all regards or situations!

Traditional vs. Tankless: The Basics

A Cost Comparison

The cost of a water heater is, of course, going to be one of the most influential factors in your decision making. And when it comes to traditional versus tankless, it boils down to this: the short game and the long game. A Traditional water heater can cost as little as half of a new tankless model, which is why they’re still the more common choice (though this is changing as tankless tech becomes more common).

However, a tankless model lasts far longer, doubling the lifespan of a traditional unit in most cases. And additionally, a tankless unit is far and away more efficient. In homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water a day, a tankless system can save between 25-36% in energy efficiency according to Energy.gov. The benefits are still present for larger homes, but they lessen somewhat as the home and water demand increase, closing the gap a bit.

Performance Differences

So this one’s a little harder to suss out, and it depends a lot on how much hot water you use at once. The weakness of a traditional hot water heater is that it has a recovery time, or a period of time where the hot water is exhausted and you must wait for the tank to refill and reheat.

Tankless systems do not have this, but they do restrict the amount of hot water that can flow at any given time. This makes doing multiple tasks at once harder, such as two people showering separately, or running a dishwasher and filling a tub at the same time. You don’t have to wait for a tank, but you might have to wait to do tasks at separate times.

So Which Water Heater Is Best?

It depends! Picking a hot water heater is all about factoring in your budget, your frequency of water use, and the size of your home. That’s why working with an expert is so important! A dedicated professional can help you weigh all factors, and give you a solid bottom line on which could suit your home best.

Looking for some professional guidance? Contact McAllister online to speak with our hot water heater specialists!