Choosing a water heater can be a big decision for a homeowner or contractor, many factors go into selecting the correct water heater for any home. A few of these factors can include Cost, Efficiency, and Longevity. If you are selecting a water heater for the first time or replacing an old one this decision can be tolling, and that is why we are here today to discuss the differences between the two types, Tankless vs a Traditional. We will also examine the pros and cons of both types so you can leave here feeling informed and confident in your decision.
Traditional Tank Storage Water Heaters
Tank Water Heaters are the most common type of water heater and can be found in most homes around the United States. They typically hold around 30 to 50 gallons of water and stores water until needed. The tank feeds a pipe which then feeds the rest of the home. The heater uses natural gas or electricity to fuel the system. Gas tends to be more expensive than electric.
Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless Water Heaters as known to be on demand type heaters because they use burners to rapidly heat the water running through the heat exchanger. After the water is heated it is delivered straight to your pipes which then feed your faucets and showers without any need for a storage tank.
Pros and Cons
Tankless Water Heaters: these types of heaters tend to be a little more expensive than traditional storage tank heaters because of their upfront costs to install in the home. But do not let this scare you away, these upfront costs are offset by the great efficiency that comes with the product. These systems tend to be 25 to 35 percent more energy efficient than traditional tank heaters. The longevity of these heaters is also a big plus! They usually last around 20 to 30 years but come with the scare of high replacement costs. The tankless water heater is a bit more costly to buy and install so be aware if you are on a budget.
Storage Tank Water Heaters: the tank heaters are a much more traditional option for anyone looking to make a safe decision. These systems tend to be much cheaper to install and maintain because of the simplicity of the heaters. There are a few negatives to the tank water heater, one is the looming scare of a flood occurring. These tanks tend to leak or burst over the years as they get older which could cause huge issues to the structure of the home. Another negative is the fact that the utility bill tends to be higher for these water heaters. If you are a huge hot water consumer, you might want to consider a tankless water heater because of their efficiency.
Tankless water heaters have become very popular lately for several good reasons. Tankless hot water heaters are more energy efficient than traditional units because they heat water as it is used, rather than heating and reheating water in a storage tank. They also take up significantly less physical space, as they do not have a bulky storage tank. But what kind is going to be right for your home and what should you know about them?
There are three types of tankless hot water heaters available:
Non-condensing: This is the first generation of tankless unit. These units use a heat exchanger to heat your water on-demand, and reach an Efficiency Factor (EF) of .82-.85. This technology has been in use in Europe and Japan for decades and is well-proven. The advantage of this type of unit is in reliability in that they are established products with few manufacturing issues. Some of the drawbacks of non-condensing units include hot exhaust, which means you have to install (expensive) stainless steel venting, and lower energy efficiency – in particular, the efficiency of these units drop when you use lots of hot water in short draws (i.e. washing your hands).
Condensing: Condensing units are the second generation of tankless water heaters. After a primary heat exchanger, these units use a second heat exchanger, which reuses the heat from your exhaust to further heat the water. This results in an increased efficiency of 92-94%. The benefit of cooler exhaust is that these units can be vented using (inexpensive) PVC, while the drawbacks included a higher unit cost and, similar to non-condensing units, a lower efficiency for short water draws.
Condensing hybrid: Condensing hybrid units are the third generation of tankless water heaters and were pioneered in the United States. These heaters incorporate a small – between 1 liter and 2-gallon – holding tank. This small holding tank keeps a reservoir of hot water, eliminating lower efficiency for short draws, meaning these water heaters achieve a true EF of .92-.96. A recent study by the Gas Technology Institute measured real life efficiency of condensing hybrid tankless water heaters and found the units consistently operated at 94% efficiency with little to no degradation due to short draws.
These units can also be vented in PVC which is less expensive. In some cases, the units also addressed “cold water sandwich” issues and pressure fluctuations that sometimes occurred with first and second generation models. There may also be slightly less lag in the time it takes to deliver hot water to the tap or appliance. One of the drawbacks (as of writing) of this technology is that because it’s newer, most models are manufactured by smaller companies. In some cases, there have been manufacturing-quality and warranty issues with these units. Product reliability is improving but it’s important to be careful about the brand you purchase.
Hot water on demand is one of the best perks a home can provide, right along with air conditioning and the garbage disposal. However, like any other major home appliance, water heaters eventually break down, especially storage tank water heaters. If your storage tank water heater has seen better days, it could be time to consider upgrading to a tankless water heater.
Whether or not you need to replace your water heater, the benefits of installing a tankless water heater are worth the cost and effort. Storage tank water heaters need to run constantly to keep the water inside the tank hot. Generally storing 30-50 gallons of hot water, there’s a limited hot water supply. What’s also important to note is that the operating costs of a tank storage water heater are expensive because it’s always running to keep the water heated. In comparison to the 20-30 lifespan of a tankless water heater, the average lifespan of a storage tank water heater is 10-15 years. The benefits of a tankless water heater include much more than efficiency, and here’s why.
If you’re ready to invest in a tankless water heater, it’s important to first consider the different types of tankless water heaters and what works best for you. Size, fuel type, and efficiency are a few important factors to think about when selecting a tankless water heater. Before contacting a plumber, consider the following.
Don’t let your wallet and lifestyle suffer a day longer, not when a tankless water heater can cut down your utility bills by 20%.
If you’re ready to install a tankless water heater, then it’s time to contact Nexgen!