Traditional vs Tankless Water Heaters: Which Should You Choose? | Richardson, TX

Traditional vs Tankless Water Heaters: Which Should You Choose? | Richardson, TX

If you’re looking to upgrade or replace your existing water heater, now may be the time to look into the new generation in water heating technology: tankless water heaters. Although they’ve been around for a while now, tankless models are just now becoming more mainstream as they become more efficient and reliable than they were when they first hit the market. Many of the old issues that kept some homeowners from making the switch were just kinks in an evolving technology that has a lot of real benefits for homeowners who make the switch. Let’s look at tankless water heaters in greater detail and discover how they may be the best choice for your Richardson, TX, home.

Benefits of Tankless Water Heaters

If you’re like most homeowners, you have a strong interest in saving money, saving energy, and improving home efficiency. With a tankless model, you can do all three in one fell swoop. A tankless water heater, as its name suggests, is a water heater that has no tank. Why is this important? The answer is simple, and ingenious in some ways. If you have a traditional water heater, say a 50-gallon model, you pay 24/7/365 to keep 50 gallons of water at a suitable hot temperature for bathing, laundry, dishes, and other needs. Even while you sleep! With a tankless hot water heater, you are not using energy to keep water hot around the clock. Instead, you pay only for the energy needed to heat water on demand, as it’s needed and only when it’s needed. Sound smart? We agree.

No More Cold Showers

As if saving money by using a tankless water heater instead of an energy-sucking traditional water heater isn’t enough, tankless heaters also offer an unlimited supply of hot water, so if you want to shower for 40 minutes, you can shower for 40 minutes without the worry of losing hot water when the tank becomes depleted. You never have to finish up a shower with cold water because your hot water runs out, which is a horrifying experience that you’ve likely had in the past.

How It Works

Although the design is super smart, the way that a tankless hot water heater works is quite simple. Whenever you open a hot water tap in your home—whether in the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room or elsewhere—cold water flows into the tankless heater, passing over or through an electrical heating element or gas burner, depending on the model you install. The water quickly exits the water heater into the hot water pipe and out the faucet tap and into your shower, sink basin, or washer—instantly heated to your desired temperature and ready for use.

Keep in mind that while an on-demand tankless hot water heater is capable of giving your home a constant flow of hot water, it is limited by its flow rate, which varies from model to model. The flow rate is the rate that the unit is able to heat at any specific time. Because the needs of each household are different, it’s important to determine the best unit with the right flow rate for your Richardson, TX, home’s needs. If you choose a unit that has a low flow rate, it may be insufficient to handle the hot water needs of your whole household. Your plumbing professional can help you weigh the different models available to make the best option for you.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

When deciding if tankless hot water heater installation is a good choice for your home, it is helpful to weigh the pros and cons of both traditional and tankless replacements.

A traditional water heater has a shorter service life expectancy than a tankless model, and it requires more floor space. Leaks and repairs or replacement are more frequent than with tankless models, although the traditional heater costs less to purchase and has lower installation costs than its tankless cousin.

Tankless water heaters are obviously more energy efficient and therefore, eco-friendlier. Tankless heaters are compact by design, so they take up less floor space than traditional water heaters, and they’re generally more repairable, due mainly to the fact that there’s no tank to corrode, which is a big cause of traditional replacement calls. However, tankless water heaters cost more than traditional ones, so they require a larger up-front investment to get started. Still, energy saved by not paying to keep up to 80 gallons of water hot around the clock can go a long way towards recouping your investment. In fact, according to a 2019 test by Consumer Reports, the annual operating cost of a traditional electric water heater was $580; a gas-powered tankless hot water heater cost just $195 to operate for a year.

Another drawback for tankless hot water heaters is that installation is not as simple as it is with traditional water heater models; oftentimes, modifications to your electrical system are needed to put a tankless heater in place.

The Future of Water Heating?

No matter which type of water heater you choose now, you may have little choice in the future—it is not hard to envision a time when tankless heaters are the only option. In European countries, the on-demand water heater is quite common. And in the U.S., the number of new home constructions with this type of water heater is also on the rise. As the technology behind tankless hot water heaters evolves and improves, it is not hard to see how this type of heater will fall surpass the benefits of traditional water heaters and become the rule instead of the exception.

See bluefrog Plumbing + Drain in Richardson, TX, for hot water heater repair and installation of both traditional and tankless water heaters by all brands.

Photo By TORWAISTUDIO at Shutterstock
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