Tank Water Heaters vs. Tankless Water Heaters

Posted by Butter Plumbing

water-heating-systemMost of us are accustomed to traditional tank water heaters in our homes: the tall cylinders that keep water hot inside them for distribution to the various outlets in our home. They’re indispensable to modern life, but they come in models that don’t match the traditional tank model. Tankless water heaters offer a number of advantages over traditional tank water heaters, and while not every home makes a great fit for them, those that do can find the differences amazing. Here’s a little breakdown of how they work.

Eliminating the Tank

Tankless water heaters tend to cost more to install than tank models. In exchange for which, they eliminate the need for a bulky tank. Instead, the water in the pipes passes directly through the tankless system, which heats it instantly as it moves towards the outlet. That makes it much smaller than most tank water heaters, and usually decreases the cost of heating the water in a traditional water heater. (The tankless model eliminates the need to keep the water heated at all times.)

What Kind of Benefits?

Beyond the reduction in operating costs and the smaller physical size, tankless water heaters provide a number of benefits. They include:

  • Hot water that never runs out the way it might with a tank model.
  • Hot water that can arrive more quickly than it would with a tank model, and save water in the process.
  • Improved space options for homes that need a little more square footage for other things.
  • Reduced energy use overall, which can benefit the environment.

Why Not Use Them in Every Home?

The big downside to tankless water heaters is that demand on them needs to be limited in comparison to tank models. If the home is too big or too many family members are present, the benefits tend to diminish rapidly. Excess strain can cause individual components to wear out more quickly, which means that the system will need to be repaired frequently. Multiple units can be installed in a single location – which makes a lot of sense for boarding houses, homes with multiple residences in a single building, and the like – but that can get expensive. Ultimately, the decision comes down to the need of the home weighed against the diminished returns on the initial installation.

For smaller homes, however, or those with just a few family members, tankless water heaters can make a great fit: conserving water and lowering costs while providing piping hot water on demand when you need it. Tankless systems also work well in second homes or vacation homes, which go unoccupied for parts of the year and can create problems for tank water heaters in the process. Tankless systems don’t need time to heat up water in a tank and can provide instant hot water the minute you step in the door.

If you’d like a tankless water heater installed in your Las Vegas, NV home, or you have an existing water heater that needs some work, call the pros at Butter Plumbing today!

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