Pros and Cons of Traditional Hot Water Heaters vs. Tankless Hot Water Heaters

Let’s talk about the differences between tankless hot water heaters and traditional tank hot water heaters. What are the differences between the two? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

Everyone pretty much knows what a regular tank hot water heater is. They come in 30, 40 or 50 gallon sizes, and that’s what most houses have. So how do they rate compared to tankless water heaters? Here are five points to consider.

Number One: Cost

The first advantage of a regular hot water heater is the cost to install one. A tankless water heater is almost double the cost of a regular tank hot water heater. And the installation is quite a bit more involved for a tankless hot water heater than a regular one. That will, of course, add to the cost.

One reason for the extra cost is that most regular hot water heaters only have a half-inch gas line going to them. It’s all they require. But all tankless hot water heaters require a three-quarter inch gas line going to them. This means that to replace a tank water heater with a tankless one, we also have to run a gas line to it, which requires more permits, more time and more money.

Number Two: Limited or Limitless Hot Water

The main reason why many people want to change from a tank hot water heater to a tankless one is if they have the problem of running out of hot water. Let’s say you’ve got a Brady Bunch thing going on at your house where you have people taking shower after shower, or bath after bath, and the last person in line doesn’t have any hot water.

If that happens regularly, the tankless hot water heater solves the problem of ever running out of hot water. That’s its biggest advantage.

You could always opt for a larger water heater. If you have a 30 or 40 gallon hot water heater, you could get a 50 gallon hot water heater. In truth, you can go up to a 75 gallon regular hot water heater. It all depends on your situation. But like I said, if you choose a tankless water heater as a solution, it will cost more to purchase and install.

Number Three: Savings on Not Heating Water All the Time?

Some marketing materials for tankless hot water heaters say that they save you money in the long run because you’re not heating a big tank of water all the time. A tankless water heater just makes the hot water as you need it. Is this true?

Well, yes, there is some truth to that. But as far as it actually saving you money, my opinion is that it will probably take years and years for that savings to show up because of the difference in purchase and installation costs. By the time you might be breaking even, it’s probably going to be time for a new tankless hot water heater. That’s just my opinion. You might get another opinion from somebody else.

Number Four: Huge Bathtubs

If you have a giant bathtub to fill up, that requires lots of water. A tankless hot water heater would probably be more advantageous than a tank hot water heater because you would never run out of hot water and you can fill the bathtub to the top, if you want.

Number Five: Annual Maintenance

There is a yearly maintenance cost required for a tankless hot water heater to keep the warranty current. The appliance has to be completely flushed out and cleaned every year by a professional. If you don’t do that, it’s not going to last as long. So you always have to keep that in mind. If you have us install that tankless hot water heater, we would put you on a schedule and give you a call to set up that maintenance once a year to make sure that your warranty stays current.

Some plumbers say that regular hot water heaters are also supposed to be flushed out. There are different thoughts on that. I’ve gone to a lot of houses where the customer went to flush out the hot water heater and the drain valve, which usually doesn’t get used but once a year, wouldn’t shut off. So they ended up calling a plumber to replace the drain valve on the hot water heater. Whether or not you should flush out your regular tank hot water heater depends on how hard your water is.

Rocketman Plumbing installs both regular tank hot water heaters and tankless hot water heaters. We would be happy to visit your home or business free of charge and give you a recommendation on which one we think would work out better for you and provide a cost estimate to install either one. The choice is yours. We’ll be glad to help you either way.