Water heaters are one of those systems that are really easy to take for granted. Out of sight, out of mind, right? Yet, they’re one of the appliances we rely on the most to keep us comfortable, so shouldn’t our attitudes about them be a bit different?
One of the most important factors of an efficient water heater is its installation. You want this job to be done by a trained and experienced professional. You also want to make sure you’re getting the right water heater installed. Is a tank water heater your next best installation, or should you go with a tankless system?
There are some big differences between the two. Read on to learn what those differences are and get an idea of what will be best for your specific home.
Tank Water Heaters
The tank water heater is the most commonly found system in homes today. One reason people still choose this type of water heater is that they’re reliable, and today’s models are more efficient than those of the past.
The distinguishing feature of a tank water heater is that it uses a tank. These storage tanks come in different sizes, measured by the gallon.
Why is this necessary? Once a tank water heater’s hot water supply runs out, there will be a delay in time as it heats up a new batch. By having a bigger supply of water to drain from, you’ll be able to use hot water for longer (and for more appliances) without it needing to refill so often.
There is a drawback to this setup. It’s that any hot water that gets unused will suffer from what’s called standby heat loss. If you have too large of a tank water heater installed, you may even see this standby heat loss appearing as a spike in your energy bills. Therefore, it can be just as detrimental to get a system that’s too large as it can be to get one that’s too small.
Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters have become a popular alternative for many homeowners. They function in a fundamentally different way than tank systems do. As the name implies, they don’t need a storage tank. Rather, a tankless system creates hot water through electrical resistance. The hot water only comes when a tap or a plumbing appliance demands it. They are also known as “on-demand” water heaters.
Tankless water heaters are the more efficient choice for many homes in the long run. There’s no standby heat loss, which means no wasted energy. Plus, they typically last about 5-10 years longer than the average tank water heater, as long as they’re well maintained.
There is a potential downfall to tankless water heaters. They can’t keep up if there is too much demand on the water heater. What does this mean? That means if two people are taking a shower, you have your dishwasher running, and your clothes washer going, there may not be enough hot water for everything. If this is the norm for your household, a larger tank water heater may actually benefit your home more, and you’ll be getting the most for your money.