A water heater is probably one of your most expensive but essential investments. That’s why when it’s time to buy a new one, you need to consider the durability, price, efficiency, size, type, etc. While the average lifespan of home water heaters is anywhere between 8 to 20 years, it’s generally recommended to replace them after 10 years.
Before you choose a brand or model, you have to decide between the two main types of water heater – the traditional water heater and the tankless water heater. So, which one is better?
Traditional and Tankless Water Heaters: The Differences
A traditional water heater stores and preheats 30 to 50 gallons of water in a tank. The water is emptied from the tank every time someone does the laundry, washes the dishes, or uses hot water. It begins refilling and heating again when it’s drained.
Whereas a tankless water heater (also called an on-demand water heater) uses either an electric or gas heat source to heat the cold water you need only when you’re ready to use it.
Pros and Cons of Traditional Tank Water Heaters
- Low maintenance. Unlike a tankless water heater wherein a professional needs to remove any buildup from the unit, a traditional model needs little to no maintenance.
- Less expensive initial costs. Aside from an easy installation, the cost of traditional water heaters is much lower than the on-demand water heater.
- Can provide a large supply of hot water. They can deliver hot water quickly to a specific area in your house.
- Inexpensive to replace. Since they’re easier to install, the installation labor cost is cheaper.
- Shorter life span. Traditional tank water heaters can last between 8 to 15 years. In short, you need to buy twice as often as a tankless water heater.
- Occupy more space. They occupy more room because they’re bigger.
- Higher utility bill. No matter how much water you need, they heat and reheat water at a pre-set temperature, increasing your utility bill, especially in winter.
- You can run out of water. You can avoid this by buying a larger tank, but with more energy costs. So, when you’re the last to get a shower in your household, chances are you can’t. And that’s a chilling experience!
Pros and Cons of Tankless Water Heaters
- Save money over time. Though the initial installation cost is higher, tankless water heaters can be 24-34% more energy efficient than the traditional units. This means that you can save a significant amount of money on your residential’s utility costs.
- Last longer. The lifespan of tankless water heaters is up to 20 years or more, with proper care.
- Space-saving. On-demand water heaters are small, and you can install them in more places, including your bathroom, laundry rooms, under the sink, under the stairs, etc.
- Deliver hot water on demand. They can provide 2 to 3 gallons of hot water per minute on demand.
- Higher initial cost. No matter what the model is, the initial cost is higher than the traditional tank water heater.
- More expensive replacement. Replacing an on-demand water heater is more complicated, making the installation cost higher.
- Additional equipment is necessary. A water softener is often required to make sure that they operate properly, adding up to the initial price and installation expenses.
In the end, the tankless water heater seems to be the better option for all houses. If you can handle the initial cost, you can cut extra expenses in the long run because you don’t have to replace it in a short few years, like with a traditional water heater. They are also more efficient, saving you hundreds of dollars annually.
For those on a tight budget, you can maintain your traditional tank water heater but note that there are expensive consequences if they’re not replaced when they should be. The IBHS (Insurance Institute for Business and Safety) says that leaks are caused by almost three-quarters of water heater failures (slow drips or bursts), flooding homes. Not only do homeowners suffer from financial difficulties, but also emotional distress.
If you are faced with this situation, prevent further water damage by immediately calling water damage restoration experts, such as PuroClean.