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Do I Need a Tank or Tankless Water Heater?

Oct 28, 2020 | Blog

When choosing between tankless and tank-style water heaters for residential and commercial applications, it’s best to get impartial advice from a company that offers both types of technology. Though there are numerous jobs where traditional technology is the right fit, there are also an increasing number of situations in which a tankless water heater is the best choice. In this guide, we’ll look at the benefits and disadvantages of these water heating methods.

Tank Technology is the Traditional Option

For decades, most water heating has been done by conventional atmospheric vent tank-style units. A gas-fueled tank unit uses approximately one-fifth the gas consumed by a tankless model. Replacing an outdated tank unit with a newer one is easy because there’s no need to change the electric or gas lines.

Water heater installation is cheaper with tank-style models than it is with tankless units, and traditional water heaters are less expensive to repair. For instance, the effects of scale and hard water buildup in a tank-style unit are much less than those found in tankless models.

Although they use less fuel than tankless units, tank models typically cost more to operate because they endlessly heat and reheat water to keep it at a certain temperature, regardless of the user’s hot water needs. Tank technology is usually the best choice for those who own older homes, simply because it costs so much to upgrade a home’s electric or gas supply. Tank-style water heaters are great for homes where there’s little risk of running out of hot water.

Additionally, tank units can offer much more than the three to five gallons per minute provided by the average tankless water heater. Restaurant owners and other commercial users tend to favor tank units because they can hold 50 or more gallons of hot water during times of high demand.

Tankless Water Heaters: An Energy-Efficient Solution

According to the Department of Energy, homes using less than 41 gallons of hot water per day can increase energy efficiency by up to 34% when owners switch from tank-style to tankless water heaters. Though these units come with a higher upfront cost, they usually last longer and bring lower monthly utility bills, which partially offsets the price difference. The Department of Energy says that, while most conventional water heaters last 10 to 15 years, tankless units can last 20 years or even more.

Tankless water heaters are sometimes referred to as “demand” units because they offer a steady supply of hot water when it is needed. They’re great for large households where laundry, showers, and food preparation are usually happening at the same time. Therefore, it’s crucial to size a tankless unit for the family’s predicted peak demand. If a unit is sized for average use, it’s possible to run out of heated water during peak demand periods.

Because tankless units have a smaller footprint, they allow homeowners to use their living space to its maximum potential. Most homes need only one tankless water heater. In warmer areas like Florida, it’s possible to install a tankless water heater outdoors.

Tankless water heater installation in a new home is much simpler than retrofitting a unit into an older home. An electrician and a plumber can plan for such a unit’s use in a new home, while an upgrade to an existing home may involve changes to the structure’s electric or gas supply. For instance, an electric-powered tank heater only needs a small 30-amp circuit, while a tankless unit may require a larger 140-amp circuit for safe usage.

Tankless units require frequent descaling, but anti-scale filters make the task simpler. These filters use non-salt, non-chemical substances that cause the magnesium and calcium in the water to bind, preventing these minerals from adhering to the unit’s internal parts. All a service technician must do is replace a filter cartridge every other year.

Misconceptions and Myths About Tankless Water Heaters

Many of Florida’s homeowners and business owners are reluctant to install tankless water heaters because of things they’ve heard, but it’s important to learn the facts. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about tankless units.

  • Venting is hard with a tankless water heater. It depends on a home’s design. Though a dwelling’s existing ventilation system may not be used, venting a tankless unit is easy if it’s installed in a room adjacent to an outside wall.
  • It’s difficult to increase a home’s gas supply. Again, it depends on the home’s layout. If a tankless unit is installed near the gas meter, upgrades are simple. However, when a unit is installed far from a meter, more challenges may arise.
  • Tankless water heaters aren’t appropriate for commercial applications. Tankless tech makes great sense in places where hot water usage is distributed evenly throughout the day. When commercial building owners install several tankless water heaters, they build redundancy into the system. If one unit needs repairs, the others can still meet the building’s hot water needs.

Tankless water heater installations are increasing in frequency because these units are efficient, space-saving, and they provide a steady, on-demand supply of hot water. When companies specialize in tankless water heaters, they tend to recommend the tech in a broad fashion. However, there are many applications in which tank-style water heaters are preferred.

The best way to find the right water heater is to consult an experienced Florida plumbing contractor. While you’re waiting for your appointment, use these guidelines to make a more informed decision.

  • If long-term savings are a priority, a tankless unit’s cost of operation over its lifespan will help to balance out its higher installation cost.
  • For budget-conscious customers, a tank-style unit may be better because it costs less to install.
  • In situations where efficiency is important, a tankless unit will eliminate the need for constant heating of the water supply
  • In homes and businesses using less than 40 to 50 gallons of hot water per day, a tankless unit is best.
  • In places using more than that amount of water each day, a tank-style heater’s higher flow rate will more effectively meet users’ needs.

Let us help you find the right water heater for your budget, lifestyle, and needs. Visit us online or call today to request a no-obligation estimate.

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