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Traditional vs. Tankless Water Heaters

You may have heard about the benefits of tankless water heaters, but how do they compare to traditional water heaters? By understanding the similarities and differences, you can make an educated decision when the time comes for a water heater replacement.

Hot Water Supply

Tank: With a maximum flow rate of between 7.5 and 9.5 gallons per minute, these water heaters can usually keep up if you want to take a shower and run the dishwasher at the same time. However, back-to-back showers aren’t easy to accommodate because the water takes time to reheat.

Tankless: Flow rates average between 2.5 and 5 gallons per minute. It’s difficult to push out a flow rate any higher than this because the tankless unit produces hot water on demand. While you’re limited to one hot water activity at a time, you’ll never have to put up with a cold shower again, even if you’re the last one to get ready in the morning.

If multitasking is your thing, a storage water heater is better equipped for the job. However, if you’re more interested in endless hot showers, a tankless unit delivers the best results. You can even get the best of both worlds by installing multiple point-of-use tankless units.

Physical Size

Tank: When sizing a water heater, the hot water output is what matters most. However, the physical dimensions are also worth considering. A traditional 50-gallon water heater is a cylinder measuring about 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide.

Tankless: A whole-house tankless water heater measures about 20 inches wide by 28 inches tall by 10 inches deep, or around the size of a carry-on suitcase. It can also mount to the wall, getting it up and out of the way.

In condos and apartments where space is limited, a compact, wall-mounted tankless unit frees up valuable storage space in your utility closet, basement, or garage.

Energy Consumption

Tank: Traditional water heaters must heat and store 50 gallons of water, 24 hours a day. As a result, water heating typically accounts for 18% of your total utility bills.

Tankless: Perhaps the main reason you’re researching tankless water heaters is to lower your utility bills. When water is heated on demand, there’s no standby heat loss. If your home uses 40 gallons of hot water or less every day, you could save 24 to 34% compared to a traditional tank. Even if you consume twice this much hot water, you can still save 8 to 14%.

If energy savings are your goal, you’ll find it by upgrading to a tankless water heater.

Purchase Price

Tank: A traditional water heater is a relatively affordable purchase, with the final cost depending on the fuel type, size, and other features you’re looking for.

Tankless: Get ready to pay a higher upfront cost for a tankless water heater. The installation can also affect the final price if you need to switch fuel sources, relocate piping, or install a new venting system.

When it comes to the upfront purchase price, a traditional water heater is the more affordable option.

Life Span

Tank: Most storage tanks last about 10 to 15 years, assuming you perform regular water heater maintenance. Neglected water heaters in places with very hard water may only last eight years.

Tankless: Because it doesn’t have to work as hard, a tankless unit can last more than 20 years.

Even though a tankless water heater costs more to purchase and install, you could recoup your investment in energy savings over the unit’s prolonged life span.

Schedule Water Heater Services in Phoenix & Tucson, AZ

Now that you understand the differences between traditional and tankless water heaters, which one will you choose? The experts at Penguin Air, Plumbing & Electrical can help you make the right decision for your Phoenix or Tucson home.

To learn more about traditional vs. tankless water heaters or to request water heater installation, replacement, repair, or maintenance, please call us at (480) 747-6800 today.

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