These days, a water heater is an essential appliance in your home. Without one, you can’t take hot showers, wash your clothes in hot water, or use your dishwasher. Whether you’re buying a new hot water heater or looking for a replacement, here are some things to know:
How They Work
When deciding on a water heater, you’re going to want to know how each type operates. In a tank water heater, anywhere from 30 gallons to 80 gallons of water is stored in a large tank and is continuously heated. This means the water is ready to go whenever you turn your faucet or shower on. When you turn on the hot water using a tankless water heater, however, the water you need will travel into the unit on-demand and be heated by a heating element before it’s distributed.
As you can probably imagine, tankless water heaters cost about three times more than tank water heaters. This is because these units usually require larger gas lines and vent lines than tank units. Also, when it comes to replacements, a new tank water heater can usually use the same lines as the old one, whereas a tankless water heater may need new lines. Tankless water heaters tend to last a few years longer, however.
Generally, tankless water heaters are more efficient than tank water heaters, however, the way you heat your home (whether it’s via gas or electricity) can play a part. According to energy.gov, “gas-fired tankless water heaters tend to have higher flow rates than electric ones [and] can waste energy if they have a constantly burning pilot light.” This means that they can be less efficient than a gas-fired tank water heater, since the pilot light constantly heats the water and the energy is wasted.
If you’re in an area that experiences frequent power outages, you may want to stay away from tankless water heaters. Because they don’t store hot water, you won’t be able to activate their heating element if you don’t have power. With a tank water heater, however, you’ll have a supply of hot water (though limited).
If you’re still not sure which water heater is right for you, call our water heater service experts. We’ll explain more about each kind and find out which fits your lifestyle.