Is it time to replace that aging water heater in your home? Are you building a new house and need to choose a water heater? These days, there are more options than ever when it comes to water heater types. You could go with a “traditional” tank model or opt for a tankless unit. In this post, we’ll explain the difference between tank and tankless water heaters and list some of the pros and cons of each version.

Tank Water Heaters

Tank water heaters feature a storage tank that, depending on the size, contains 20 to 120 gallons of water. These models pre-heat a limited amount of water at a predetermined temperature, typically around 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and hold it in the tank. This is not the most efficient way to heat your water.

Tank Water Heater Pros:

  • Simple design minimizes maintenance and repair costs
  • Lower upfront cost
  • “Tried and true” technology — most older homes are better equipped to accommodate tank water heaters than their tankless counterparts
  • You’ll always have a supply of water in the tank during an emergency, until the water supply runs out

Tank Water Heater Cons:

  • The storage tank can take up a lot of space inside a home
  • Relatively short lifespan of only 7 to 15 years
  • Keeping the tank full of hot water consumes energy and leads to higher utility bills
  • A malfunction can cause leaks and flooding
  • Smaller tanks often can’t keep up with heavy demand, which means hot water might not always be available when it’s needed and comes with higher energy costs.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heater systems do not have storage tanks. Instead, they heat water on demand via gas burners when you turn on the faucet or tap.

Tankless Water Heater Pros:

  • Save on energy costs — because it only heats water when you need it, it’s more energy-efficient and contributes to lower utility costs
  • No worries about leaks or flooding
  • Because there are no issues with tanks wearing out or leaking, a tankless water heater can last 15 to 25 years, which is longer than a tank heater.
  • No need to find space in a kitchen, basement or closet for a storage tank. Only a simple wall mount that takes up approximately 26X19” is the only space you need.

Tankless Water Heater Cons:

  • A tankless system can initially cost a little more to purchase and install than a tank-based water heater
  • Older homes may require retrofitting to accommodate a tankless water heater, which can increase the time and expense of the installation

Should I Buy a Tank or Tankless Water Heater?

You’ll want to weigh the upfront price against the long-term utility cost implications. Even though a tankless water heater is more expensive, they are more efficient as they only heat water when you turn it on. Not to mention, you get the convenience of enjoying endless hot water. You’ll also need to consider your family’s hot water usage patterns and whether you want a storage tank inside your home.

Tank vs. Tankless Water Heater — Foster Fuels Can Help You Find the Answer

If you’re located in southern and central Virginia, and parts of North Carolina, Foster Fuels has the expertise to help you choose the right hot water system for your home. Give us a call at 800-344-6457 or contact us online to learn more today.