Your Guide to the Tank vs. Tankless Water Heater Debate

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For North Carolina residents, nearly 18% of their home energy expenses come from heating water. With such a high percentage of your monthly utility costs linked to your water heater operation, it’s time you understood your appliance options and the pros and cons of each available system on the market. That way, you can make an informed decision on which water heating network is right for your home and your water usage.

There are two types of water heaters: tradition and tankless. Here is a breakdown of each system:

Traditional Water Heaters

The Basics

The majority of people in the U.S. have traditional water heaters. They have been the standard for decades! How do they work? A traditional water heater heats your water within a storage tank, which consistently heats, and re-heats, your water, so you always have hot water at the ready. That is—until your tank is drained.

Once your tank is empty, you will run out of hot water; however, a traditional tank only takes a short period of time to refill and reheat.

The Pros

Tank water heaters heat and reheat 50 to 80 gallons of water 24/7, so you always have hot water available when you need it!

Tank heaters also tend to be a little cheaper to install than tankless units. This makes a traditional water heater a great option if you are in a temporary home or are sticking to a strict budget. Tank water heaters offer a good, one-time, upfront savings on installation cost.

The Cons

Even if you have a properly sized tank for your home’s average water consumption, it is possible to run out of hot water. This can become frustrating, and interfere with your morning and bedtime bathing routines.

However, the biggest con lies in standby heat loss. Why does your water within your storage tank lose its warmth? Because the tank is not well insulated. All the water sitting in your tank will slowly cool down, as heat is lost to its surroundings.

Additionally, traditional water heaters will cost you more to operate. As the system runs consecutive heating cycles, it is expending energy, even when you are not using hot water. A traditional water heater will cost you more to operate and has limitations on the amount of hot water they produce.

Tankless Water Heaters

The Basics

The tankless water heater was born out of the limitations of the standard tank system, mentioned above. The first tankless system was invented in the 1920s by a German inventor. He understood the inefficiency of standby heat loss and decided to create a water heater than only prepared water when you needed it. This idea took off, and with technological advancements, became the most efficient water heater on the market today.

So, how does it work? Tankless water heaters only heat water when you turn on your hot water faucet. They can handle any amount of water, from a fraction of a gallon to an endless supply of 100’s of gallons of hot water. When you go to switch on your showerhead or your kitchen faucet, you’ll always have hot water!

The Pros

Tankless water heaters are excellent for those worried about running out of hot water. With a tankless system, you won’t have to think about creating a shower schedule in your house—you will always have hot water!

Additionally, tankless units take up less space, tend to require less maintenance, and last longer than storage tanks.

Tankless water heaters offer great monthly savings, as operational costs are low, there is zero energy expended when your system is not being used, and you have an unlimited supply of hot water on demand.

The Cons

While tankless units are more efficient, this system does have a higher installation cost than a traditional one. However, the energy savings do off-set this cost. This system is more of an investment; yet, it will eventually pay for itself!

If you are interested in installing a new water heater, contact B & J Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning, (252) 512-5651 or fill out an online contact form!