A water heater is a device that generates hot water on demand. Water heaters come in two major types – traditional or storage tank water heater and tankless or on-demand water heater – and each one has its specific purpose as well as pros and cons.
The fact is, there are many factors that could dictate what type of water heater suits your home the best. If you are shopping for a water heater and you’d like to know which of the two types of hot water generator works the best for your needs, read our buying guide below:
Storage Tank Water Heater
A storage tank water heater is also called traditional water heater because it’s been around for a long, long time. It is, after all, the most common type of water heater there is. Storage water tanks are either gas or electric powered and are best for larger homes that require a steady stream of hot water at multiple rooms at the same time.
As the name suggests, a storage tank water heater comes with a built-in insulated tank where water is heated and then stored until needed. Once hot water is needed, it will pump the heated water within the pipeline.
A traditional water heater also comes with its own temperature controls and pressure release valve, which activates if the water level or temperature has exceeded the preset level. Of all types of storage tank water heaters, those that run on natural gas are the most energy efficient. That said, gas powered water heaters are more expensive at the time of purchase compared to an electric water heater.
Tankless (On-Demand) Water Heater
Tankless water heater or on-demand water heater does not have a built-in water tank to store hot water. What it has are heating coils that heat water whenever needed. This type of water heater is best for households that do not require a steady stream of hot water for more than one use at a time. For instance, your household does not use hot water when running a shower and dishwasher at the same time. This product is also recommended for homes that utilize natural gas to generate hot water.
Tankless water heaters are more energy efficient than a traditional storage tank water heater but the water flow per minute is limited because of the reduced capacity and power. Most tankless water heaters have a limited flow of only 3.5 gallons maximum. This product also comes in natural gas and electric powered variants.
Factors to Consider to Determine the Right Water Heater for You
Now that you know the difference between tank and tankless water heater, let’s take a look at how each one performs to find out which type of water heater is best for your home:
Perhaps one of the most important factors you need to consider when choosing a water heater is the performance, which inevitably translates to the convenience offered by these devices. If the water heater is underperforming, you won’t get enough hot water for everyone.
Now, a traditional tank water heater generates less hot water because a limited volume of water is stored in the tank. Once the stored heated water runs out, it takes a while for the heater to refill and reheat the water.
On the other hand, tankless water heater can generate hot water when needed. This means, as soon as you turn the water on, water is heated as it flows through the pipes within seconds. The only problem with tankless water heater is consistency. Sometimes the temperature is not consistent as you use it because the water is being heated on demand. Also, tankless water heater’s output pales in comparison with that of traditional tank water heater.
A water heater could utilize either natural gas or electricity. Whatever type of water heater you want, always consider how much it costs to use the device in the long run. Why? Because a water heater that utilizes more energy requires added costs to your monthly energy bill.
A traditional water heater is often deemed as less energy efficient as its tankless counterpart because the system works continuously. This means the water heater works even when you don’t need hot water. Worse, most of the hot water stored in the heater won’t be used so you’re paying extra for something you won’t be able to maximize at all, unless of course, your home needs hot water 24/7.
A tankless water heater works only when hot water is needed so it’s more economical. As soon as you turn off your faucet, the water heater stops heating water, saving you more on energy costs.
Traditional water heater is less expensive than tankless water heater. The installation cost is also less expensive than installing a tankless water heater, saving you more money. However, while tankless water heater is more expensive, it will save you money on your monthly bill, reducing energy costs by up to 60%.
Tank water heaters feature an old technology so they will require regular maintenance, which is a stark contrast to tankless water heater, which requires less maintenance. However, this does not mean traditional water heaters are harder to maintain. Why? Depending on the brand of tankless water heater you purchased, some may require more maintenance than others. As such, tank and tankless water heater are evenly matched as far as maintenance go. Your choice which water heater to get will be a matter of preference. Our advice is to opt for a product that offers a longer warranty to keep maintenance and repair costs down.
Which Water Heating System is Best for You?
The type of water heater to get will depend on your family usage pattern, your lifestyle, the volume of hot water you need every day, and your electrical/pipe systems at home. Traditional storage tank water heaters are best for homes with low pressure and families that do not require hot water on demand. Tank water heaters are designed for heavy usage so it’s the perfect choice for larger homes.
Tankless water heaters may not be as hardworking as tank water heaters but they offer hot water on demand. If you want to save more energy while enjoying your hot showers every day, turn to tankless water heaters.