When your old water heater is nearing its end, your plumber may recommend going with a tankless water heater. While each provides hot water when you need it, today, large water heater tanks are being replaced with tankless models. The following will describe the differences between a tank and a tankless hot water heater, and why many are considering making the switch.
Hot Water on Demand
Of course, the most obvious difference is that a tankless hot water heater does not require a container to hold hot water in. Instead of using a tank, like older water heaters do, a tankless model uses special heaters to bring water up to temperature when a consumer calls for it. This process results in the production of hot water only when requested, while a water heater with a tank will keep water at heated temperature continuously.
A tankless water heater uses less energy than one with a tank. How water kept in a tank constantly uses energy to maintain the water at an elevated temperature. Even if the water is not being used, the water stays hot. In contrast, with a tankless version, the water does not heat up until someone in the household needs it. While the tankless uses bursts of energy while heating, it uses little to no energy when there is no demand for it.
In addition, a tank water heater generally uses propane, natural gas, or electricity for power. Natural gas and electricity are the options usually available with a tankless model. The natural gas option is the most efficient in both the tank and tankless models.
Hot water output is another difference between tank and tankless water heaters. The amount of hot water you receive from of a water heater with a tank depends on the size of the reservoir. If the demand goes beyond the amount of hot water in the tank, the consumer may get a blast of cold water. With a tankless heater, the amount of hot water available is almost limitless because there is no need for a finite reserve.
Installation requirements for each type of water heater is a bit different. For a tank version, you will need a designated amount of square footage in which the tank sits. The plumber will need a source of power and water lines to the area as well. For a tankless water heater, the plumber will need wall space on which to mount the tank. The unit usually sits a few inches out from the wall surface. Again, a source of power and water lines will need to be near.
Maintenance requirements are different for tank and tankless water heaters. Every year manufacturers recommend that home owners flush a tank heater to remove sediment. These models also have sacrificial rods that need replaced every few years. For tankless models, filters that catch sediment need changed and routine flushing of the heat exchanger will do the job.
When you need to think about installing a new or replacing an old water heater, it is a good time to consider changing from a tank to a tankless water heater. Each has its advantages and disadvantages and the choice depends on the home owner’s preferences and regulations in the area. Some new subdivisions are requiring tankless water heaters. Most homeowners like the tankless option due to the energy efficiency and reduced danger of a water leak.