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Tank vs Tankless Water Heaters

We take so much for granted in US. We expect that we’re going to have limitless hot water at the turn of a faucet within a few seconds. We wouldn’t even consider living in a house that didn’t have this modern convenience. A water heater has become such a standard home feature, that we give it little thought. We expect hot water and we love it. There are a few things to consider, however, when making decisions about which kind of water heater would be best for your home. Different systems have different attributes and you need to think through what you need regarding your water usage, utility costs, and the cost of the appliance itself.


1. Convenience

Many homes simply run out of water before everyone gets the shower they desire. You could stand outside the bathroom with a whistle and stopwatch of course, but who wants to manage that?! The more people in a home equates to more hours in the shower, at the kitchen sink scrubbing pans, and more pounds of laundry cycled through the washer/dryer. A standard tank water heater is sold (and priced) by the number of gallons it keeps continuously hot. It stores the precious hot water resource until a line is opened. It takes time to re-heat the new infill water, so “recovery time” is occasionally needed after a few long showers or heavy usage. A tankless water heater doesn’t store water, but flash heats it to provide steamy showers in a matter of a seconds. The tankless technology has come a long way since it first hit the market many years ago. A consumer used to have wait for a few minutes to get the water up to 115F (hot enough) and there might be a few “cold” spots — that isn’t the case any longer. The hot water is almost instantaneous and the hot water runs as long as you have water supplied to your house! Don’t tell you kids! You might not ever get them out of that bathroom if they know how this works.

2. Energy Use

As we become increasingly aware of how much energy we use as a nation, and as individual households, we recognize the value of energy efficiency. A traditional tank water heater will continuously store and heat water during those hours you don’t need hot water — it uses precious energy and burns money from your household budget. A tankless heater brings that hot water on demand. It stops running when you don’t need it — they’re designed to save energy. Most people like this feature.

3. Cost

Financial considerations between tank and tankless heaters primarily turn on the issue of your timeline. The longer the timeline, the more quickly you recoup the initial investment on the tankless unit and enjoy long-term energy savings. There’s no doubt that the traditional tank heaters cost less at the time of purchase, but their lifespan is considerably shorter. With the tankless unit, the savings are substantial the longer you reside in your home. A point of reference: a standard tank heater (50-gallon electric) compared to a tankless (gas-fired), will reduce energy cost by 60% or more over time. That is fairly considerable saving.


Installation costs on tankless heaters continue to fall as they increase in popularity and more plumbers are competent at installation. Noritz offers a variety of models compatible with your pre-existing exhaust stack. Plus, Noritz can help you find a licensed installer wherever you live. The two heaters are nearly identical in installation cost. Following installation, the difference in savings is shockingly obvious:

Tank heaters deteriorate over time. Minerals build up inside the tank as it’s cooked over and over. Most tanks last only 10 years before they must be replaced. They typically only carry a 6-year warranty.

Tankless heaters are modern and more effective. They last up to 20 years with very little maintenance. And Noritz backs most water heaters with a 10-year warranty or longer.

The water heater is probably the appliance least thought about in the home – that is …until it fails! And when water heaters fail, they do so in spectacular fashion. A homeowner is left with a nasty mess that can damage drywall and flooring. Three of every four water heaters fail due to a tank bursting or leaking 30 to 80 gallons of rusty water – depending on tank size – in an unfortunate homeowner’s attic or garage. Look for energy-efficient, certified ENERGY STAR water heaters, as new technologies can shave anywhere from 7 to 55 percent off household water-heating costs. Not bad! Give us a call and see how we can help you avoid a mess and high energy costs.

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