Before you buy a new water heater, you need to choose between a tank or a tankless water heater system. Each style of water heater functions differently and has its own set of pros and cons. The best choice for your Atlanta area home often depends on your energy savings goals, available space for installation and your household’s hot water usage habits.
Whether you choose tank or tankless water heaters in Atlanta, turn to Estes Services for quality products and skilled services. Our licensed plumbers are here to assist you every step of the way.
What Is a Tankless Water Heater?
A tankless system is just what the name says – they do not use a tank for storing hot water; instead, water is heated as needed.
A tankless heater uses a powerful heat exchanger to transfer heat from one source to another, increasing the water temperature. This heat exchanger is only activated by the flow of incoming water. The incoming water is heated to your preset temperature while it circulates through the heat exchanger. You have the option of installing a tankless system powered by electricity, propane or natural gas.
A tankless water heater offers hot water within seconds and eliminates preheated water for later use. The average tankless system provides hot water ranging from 2 to 5 gallons per minute. Gas powered water heating produces a higher flow rate compared to electric water heating.
How Is a Tank Storage Water Heater Different?
A traditional tank storage water heater stores water in a large tank and preheats between 30 to 50 gallons of water in the storage area. The preheated water is utilized whenever someone does laundry, dishes or takes a shower. Once the tank is empty, more water flows back in to be preheated.
One of the most significant differences between tank and tankless units is their footprint. Tank water heaters are quite large, requiring several square feet of floor space and horizontal area. Alternatively, tankless water heaters can be affixed to a wall, requiring no floor space and are very compact in size.
Are Tankless Water Heaters More Energy Efficient?
One of the most significant differences between the two is the savings. Tankless water heaters are 8 to 24 percent more energy efficient than tank water heaters. They deliver hot water within seconds, eliminating standby heat loss. They are more energy efficient because water is only heated when it’s needed. You can save money on your energy bills with a tankless system because the unit isn’t constantly heating water stored in a tank or piping.
Pros and Cons of Tankless Water Heaters
When deciding between a water heater, it is important to examine the pros and cons of each model. Tankless water heaters have distinct advantages, but they do come with some drawbacks.
Tankless Water Heater Pros
- A tankless hot water heater lasts up to twice as long as a traditional water heater. Regular tank heaters last between 10 to 15 years, while a tankless heater lasts up to 20 years with proper maintenance.
- With a tankless system, you get more flexibility and versatility for installation purposes. On-demand water heaters are smaller, allowing them to fit into compact spaces. You can install a tankless heater under a sink, in a closet or somewhere close to the faucet . They can even be installed outside!
- Hot water within seconds is achieved only with a tankless heater. The hot water is unlimited as long as it’s operating within its capacity.
- A tankless water heater allows you to conserve more water at home. Because water is used immediately and you don’t have to wait for it to heat up, you waste less water.
- Remote controls are available for some models with up to four separate settings.
Tankless Water Heater Cons
- They vary in price according to size and are typically more expensive to purchase than a traditional heater.
- If your home is equipped with a traditional tank, your home must be retrofit to accommodate a tankless unit. Installation is more complex and comes with a higher price tag. New gas lines may need to be installed as well as ventilation for gas units, or an additional electric circuit if you choose an electric tankless heater.
- A tankless water heater often struggles to provide sufficient hot water when multiple taps call for hot water at the same time.
Pros and Cons of Storage Tank Water Heaters
Before you choose a type of water heater, see how tankless models compare to the traditional units that have been commonplace in Atlanta homes for decades. While tankless water heaters have attractive benefits, there are some areas where they just don’t stack up to tank water heaters.
Storage Tank Water Heater Pros
- The initial cost to purchase a tank water heater is typically less than a tankless unit.
- Homes already equipped with a conventional storage tank water heater are already set up for installation of another unit of the same style, which means installation is less complicated.
- You are able to use hot water through multiple taps at the same time without sacrificing warmth. A tankless water heater is only able to produce so much hot water at a time. When multiple applications use hot water simultaneously, not enough hot water is always available.
Storage Tank Water Heater Cons
- Traditional water heaters constantly heat and reheat water at a preset temperature, regardless of when water is needed. Your water bill and energy bills are higher with a traditional unit.
- The size of a traditional heater is much larger than a tankless unit, making it harder to find a place for it in your home. They cannot be installed outside.
- Because this style of heater stores heated water, it eventually runs out, and you must wait for the tank to refill and reheat before hot water is available again. Larger tanks necessitating higher energy costs are available if you need hot water for extended amounts of time.
- Traditional water heaters last between 10 to 15 years with proper maintenance, which is about half the amount of time a tankless water heater is expected to last. You must replace a tank water heater about twice as frequently as a tankless model.
Signs to Look For Before You Buy
There are two different options to choose from when it comes to on-demand water heaters in Atlanta. There are smaller units, which are installed near a faucet or other water source. These are smaller capacity and provide enough hot water for a specific location in your home.
Small, tankless heaters eliminate heat loss through piping. They are an excellent option for assisting a regular water heater for a bathroom or an area far away from the main water heater.
If you are considering a tankless water heater for your entire home, there are larger ones available. These larger hot water heaters provide water to multiple areas in your home at the same time, while still enjoying the perks of hot water within seconds.
You still gain the benefit of zero heat loss because there is no storage tank when you choose a tankless system. A minimal amount of heat is lost to the piping delivering the water throughout your home. You can reduce heat loss through the pipes by insulating them.
Secondary Storage Tank
If you decide to buy a traditional storage water heater, you’ll need more space for system installation. Unit size varies by the system’s capacity – how much hot water it is able to hold. An option with tank water heater installation is to add a secondary hot water storage tank, which increases the capacity of your home’s hot water reserves. However, the addition of a storage tank does require more space for installation.
Ready to Upgrade Your Water Heater?
If it’s time for a new water heater in your Atlanta area home, call Estes Services for quality equipment and professional water heater installation. If you’re having trouble deciding between tank vs tankless water heater units, our knowledgeable staff are here to help you best understand your options and determine the right choice based on your needs.