For many decades, the only real option for a home water heater was the storage tank variety. In the past decade or so, though, tankless water heaters have arrived on the scene and created a conundrum: which water heater is right for which homeowner? Fortunately, we’re here to help you sort it all out. Of course, it’s best to consult with a technician in person about which water heater is best for you. Still, this should help you get started. Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of each.
Tank Water Heaters
Tank water heaters are the standard water heater type for most homes. They consist of a large storage tank, which keeps a number of gallons of water heated at all times in case it is needed. There are a couple advantages to this. First, you will have hot water available at all times more or less without delay. Second, it will be harder to overwhelm this type of water heater with demand. The cons of this water heater type are that it wastes a lot of energy, and that if it ever is overwhelmed it will take longer to heat more water.
Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters eschew storage tanks in favor of heat exchangers, much like boiler systems. A tankless water heater only turns on when there is a need for hot water, during which it will heat water as it flows through the system. When demand subsides, the water heater turns itself off. This saves a lot of energy, as well as space, that a tank water heater would consume. The downside is that there is a slight delay between turning on the hot water and actually receiving it, as the system has to start up from scratch every time. Tankless water heaters are also more easily overwhelmed, although they do recover more quickly.