Let’s be honest, when you need to replace your water heater, your main concern is “which heater will most efficiently save me money in the long run?” There are two different kinds of heaters on the market today: a tankless heater, which is a relatively new technology, and the traditional water heater.
Both water heater styles have their pros and cons. Let’s take a closer look at each, starting with the traditional water heater.
Traditional Hot Water Heaters
A Traditional Water Heater stores and preheats between 30-50 gallons of water in a tank. That preheated water is dispensed whenever someone in your home take a shower, does the laundry, or washes dishes. The tank then refills and the cycle repeats itself.
The advantage of a tradition water heater is the much lower upfront cost. In some cases, the price of a traditional heater can be nearly half of what a tankless heater costs, or less. Another plus for the traditional water heater is the simplicity in its installment, which also makes it easy to replace when that old one burns out.
But there are additional costs for a tradition water heater – and it comes in the form of energy efficiency. Although the cost to purchase and install it may be low, be prepared for a higher utility bill. Traditional heaters heat and reheat water at a pre-set temperature regardless of your water needs. This increases your utility bill during the different seasons.
Also, traditional water heaters take up a larger amount of space and need to be stored indoors. And the life expectancy is relatively short, too, at less than 10 years.
Tankless Hot Water Heater
A Tankless water heater uses a heat source (electric or gas) to heat up cool water on-demand whenever you need it. It’s not stored and re-heated like a traditional water heater.
Purchasing a tankless heater can be considered a long-term investment. Although it may be more expensive to purchase and install, the investment will pay itself back over time by lowering utility bills. Tankless heaters are very small in comparison to traditional tanks, and it can even be installed outdoors to save even more room.
Another plus that should play an important role in your decision making process is the fact that tankless heaters life expectancy is more than 20 years, or twice the length of traditional heaters. Lastly, tankless heaters are able to heat up water more quickly, and therefore, more efficiently.
Many homeowners (especially new homeowners) are hesitant to replace an old traditional water heater with a shiny, brand-spanking new tankless heater, because the cost could be much more prohibitive compared with a tankless being installed in new construction, or example. Wires and switches may need to be replaced, and if your house is big enough, you may even need two tankless heaters, so that the hot water is closer to the sources it needs to reach though the lines.
In the end, you’ll decide between a traditional and a tankless on factors that mostly revolve around budget, effort to install, and your long-term plans for your home.