Tankless Vs. Tank Water Heaters: How To Choose The Best One For Your Home!

Tankless Water Heater

The tankless water heaters are a type of gas or electric water heating system that heats the water on demand, rather than storing it in a tank. These units can be installed as an addition to an existing home or replace the existing tank system. These new systems use less energy to do the same job as traditional models because they only use energy when you need hot water. There is also no need for any insulation on these units, resulting in lower operating costs and better efficiency.

How They Work

A tankless water heater uses a high-energy burner to heat the water as it is used. The hot water isn’t kept in a tank, so there is no delay when the faucet is turned on. Instead, the unit gets hot water from an underground or in-ground well system.

The gas or electricity runs from the unit to a heat exchanger. Inside of this exchanger, there are small holes that allow for the easy flow of heated and cold water through the system. The unit is installed to a separate outside wall, and the water from the heat exchanger goes through a line to the inside of your home. Some units also heat air to make steam for final extraction to be used in your home’s hot water system.

When you turn on some of these units, they have sensors that detect resistance in the cold water lines. This resistance means that there is still water in the pipes, and the heat exchanger will not be damaged by being heated. The unit has a bypass loop that takes hot water to the faucet while it waits for you to use up the cold water in the line.

Installation and Initial Price

Tankless water heaters require some plumbing design work and can even be a little more complicated than the old tank models. You need to decide if you want to install it as an addition to an existing home or if you want to replace it. In some cases, there are warranties or rebates from the manufacturer that will cover the installation costs. These typically vary with each make and model of the unit. The initial setup cost for this type of unit can range between $350 and $2,100, depending on the type of system you want. The average cost is around $1,200. However, if installed by a certified professional and you use a good system as your source, you might qualify for rebates that bring the price down even more. Some manufacturers also offer low or zero-interest financing to help with the initial cost of installation.

Energy Efficiency and Use

When you look at the energy efficiency of tankless water heaters, you can see why they are so popular for central heating systems. These units use a fraction of the energy that other models do to provide all of the hot water you will ever need. In some cases, you will have more energy left over to heat the air with heating elements and make steam for your home’s ducts. The life expectancy can also be longer because there will be no corrosion issues due to the cold water in pipes all day long. Keeping the plumbing lines moving with hot water is better for the overall design and helps you to get more energy efficiency over time.

While it’s true that tankless water heaters cost more upfront, they also use less energy over time so that you will spend less money on your bills. The average home using a tank-type heater spends $150 per month on its energy costs, while a home with a tankless system might only pay around $50 per month.

Lifespan and Maintenance

Unlike traditional water heaters that have to be drained and cleaned occasionally, the tankless water heaters only need to be turned off when it is not used for an extended period of time. The coolant will work indefinitely without causing damage and can be drained and refilled when you need it. There are also no hoses to get damaged or broken, which can create a mess in your garage.

The unit you purchase will come with all of the parts needed to make this process easy. You might have to replace or repair a control panel or heating elements over time, so it is good to do so before this happens. For the most part, tankless water heaters will last longer than traditional models because less maintenance is required.

As the technology behind these units improves, you can expect to see more and more models available with advanced designs that will provide even better efficiency. Instead of using coolant and heating elements in one piece, some of these newer units are built with smart technology that takes advantage of how you use water in your life.


  • Tankless water heater systems require less space since the appliances are installed vertically. A tankless system is more expensive than a traditional water heater but will save you money in the long run.
  • Tankless systems do not experience standing-water buildup because they use intermittent hot water.
  • Tankless systems are quieter than traditional models; they turn on only when needed.
  • Tankless water heaters require no plumbing work and use less energy over time.
  • The lifetime expectancy of a tankless system might be longer than most tank systems because there is no need to drain the system for cleaning.
  • The benefits of tankless water heater systems outweigh the disadvantages. Tankless water heaters use less space and better long-term value than tank-style systems.

Tank Water Heaters

When it comes to tank water heaters, the most commonly used type of water heater, there are two main producing hot water: electric tank and gas tank.

An electric tank uses electricity to heat the water. These are the most common water heaters in homes because they’re cheaper to operate and easy to install. They are also very energy efficient and don’t require a venting process to expel carbon monoxide (like gas models need). One problem with these systems is that they take a long time to heat up, which is because they have an insulated tank, so it’s best if you have access to a main hot water line or another source for immediate hot water.

Gas tank systems use a gas burn process, which releases the heat of combustion in the tank. Gas tanks are more expensive to operate than electric models and don’t usually require a venting process. However, they’re more efficient because there’s no loss of heat going into the cold water after it comes out of the tank and doesn’t have to be recirculated through an insulated tank as electric models do. Besides, they don’t require electricity or gas line hookups and produce more hot water in less time than electrically heated tanks. In fact, depending on what type of gas burner is used, you can get up to 5 gallons per minute from a 3-ton capacity unit.

How They Work

Some tanks heat water on demand, which means they don’t keep the water at a constant temperature. These tanks are often connected to circulation systems that keep the hot water moving through a network of pipes and disperse it to various parts of the home on demand. This system is efficient but can waste energy if there’s an extra-long wait time between hot water uses. Other water heaters keep a certain amount of water at a constant temperature all of the time and release it as needed.

Installation and Initial Price

When installing an electric tank, you need to connect the water heater to the cold water line and a power source. On the other hand, gas tanks are hooked up to a natural gas line that carries fuel from a central location directly into the tank. Both types of systems require a venting system that helps expel harmful gases like carbon monoxide.

One of the main differences between gas and electric models is in price: generally speaking, electric models are cheaper initially but will cost more over time than their gas counterparts. However, if you plan to keep your current home for over 10-15 years or if your state has rebates for purchasing an energy-efficient model, it may make more sense to go with an electric model.

Energy Efficiency and Use

One of the biggest differentiating factors between gas and electric water heaters is how energy efficient they are. As mentioned above, gas models utilize air and gas combustion to produce hot water. This process is much more efficient than electricity, which means that a lot less energy is wasted in the heating process. Electricity tends to lose a large amount of heat when it runs through a wire and then through water in the tank, whereas a natural gas burner transfers most of its heat directly into the tank.

However, despite their efficiency, gas tanks tend to get used more because they make hot water faster than electric ones. Electric models take three to five minutes to heat up and then require a five-minute waiting period after use before they can be used again. Gas tanks produce hot water in as little as one minute and don’t need a wait time after each use, making them the more popular choice for many people.

Lifespan and Maintenance

Gas models are more efficient than their counterparts because they don’t waste heat that would otherwise be used to heat the water; rather, they take it straight to the tap, so they only use as much energy and fuel as they need to maintain a steady flow of hot water. However, other factors contribute to a water heater’s efficiency. The lifespan of a water heater varies wildly from model to model. Electric models tend to have a longer lifespan than gas ones because the latter require more maintenance due to the burning process, which can eventually wear out the pipes and tank.

If your model has a venting system, make sure to use it at least once every six months to get rid of any harmful gases inside. Since they don’t have venting systems, electric models are easier to clean. Just wipe them down with vinegar and water after each use so they won’t rust when you’re not using them.

If you have an electric tank, you can make several things to make it last longer. First of all, don’t let the temperature go above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Second, let it run for five minutes after each use, so any excess air in the pipes is eliminated and helps prevent rust or corrosion on the heating components. Also, make sure to keep the filter clean and replace it regularly. The lifespan of a tank depends on how much hot water you use. Most tanks last between eight and 12 years, but if you use a lot of hot water, you may need to change yours more often.

Electric models tend to be a bit more expensive to repair or replace than gas models are. For example, if an electric model isn’t working anymore or is leaking, you’ll have to call an electrician. On the other hand, if a gas model needs repair or replacement, all it takes is replacing the burner and flue pipe with a new one.


  • Gas has a higher upfront cost but is more cost-effective to heat and maintain than electric water heaters.
    The life of gas models tends to be longer than electric ones, but multiple factors affect their lifespan.
  • As for maintenance, gas models usually require less maintenance than their electric counterparts because they don’t produce as much waste heat.
  • Electric models are more cost-effective to replace, repair, or maintain.
  • Gas models are easier to clean.
  • Electric models tend to have a shorter lifespan than gas ones because they produce more waste heat than gas models do.
  • Though there’s no definitive method of determining the lifespan of a water heater, and it will vary for each model, there is a general guideline: electric water heaters tend to last between five and eight years, while gas ones usually last between eight and 12 years.