Tankless vs. Traditional: Which Water Heater Is Right for You?

Sink with hot water coming out of it.

A water heater is an expensive but long-lasting investment for Macomb homeowners. The price, efficiency, and lifespan of a new water heater are all factors to think about when furnishing or replacing an old one. 

Finzel’s Heating & Cooling experts can help determine which water heater is best for your Michigan home. 

Types of Water Heaters

There are mainly two types of water heaters: tank water heaters and tankless water heaters.

Tankless Water Heater

A tankless water heater, or an on-demand water heater, is a system that heats water directly. It does not need a storage tank to work. Traditional water heaters store and continuously heat a large amount of water in a tank, whereas tankless systems only heat water when required. 

Let’s explore the features, advantages, and drawbacks associated with tankless water heaters.

Features of Tankless Water Heaters:

  • On-Demand Heating: Tankless water heaters are based on an on-demand heating system. They only heat water when water is running and remove the use of a storage tank.
  • Firm Design: Tankless water heaters have a small footprint and may be installed on a wall, making them ideal for households with limited floor space.
  • Continuous Water Supply: Because tankless water heaters heat water on demand, they never run out of hot water and can keep up with a family’s needs.
  • Energy Efficiency: Tankless models save a significant amount of energy compared to conventional water heaters. They do not suffer from the standby heat loss experienced by conventional tanks that must constantly heat their water supply.
  • Greater Lifespan: Tankless water heaters last for much longer than their storage tank counterparts. If cared for properly, they can last for at least 20 years.
  • Variety of Sizes: Tankless water heaters come in various sizes to accommodate different household needs. Smaller units may be suitable for point-of-use applications, while larger units can serve whole-house heating.

Advantages of Tankless Water Heaters:

  • Energy Savings: One of the best things about portable water heaters is that they use less energy. They only heat water when needed, reducing total energy use and utility bills.
  • Small Area: Tankless water heaters are ideal for small homes or apartments because of their small footprint. Their small size makes them perfect for condos, apartments, and homes with limited storage room.
  • Less Damage to the Environment: Because portable water heaters use less energy, they leave behind less carbon dioxide, making them a more environmentally friendly choice.
  • No Standby Heat Loss: Traditional tank water heaters experience standby heat loss, where energy is consumed to keep the stored water hot. Tankless units eliminate this loss, improving overall efficiency. 

Drawbacks for Tankless Water Heaters:

  • Higher Start-Up Cost: Compared to standard storage tanks, tankless heaters usually cost more at first. Long-term energy savings, on the other hand, often make up for this original cost.
  • Limited Flow: If several faucets need hot water at the same time, a tankless water heater may have limits on its flow rate. It is very important to get the right size unit.
  • Source of Fuel: Natural gas or electricity are often used to power tankless water heaters. When choosing, you should consider how easy it is to get these energy sources and how much they cost.
  • Regular Maintenance: Tankless water heaters last longer but need regular maintenance to work at their best. A common maintenance job is to flush the unit to get rid of mineral buildup.

    An on-demand water heater is a modern and effective way to get hot water whenever needed.

Traditional Water Heater

A traditional water heater, also known as a storage tank water heater, is a common and familiar appliance found in many homes. Unlike tankless water heaters, which heat water on demand, traditional water heaters store and continuously heat a large volume of water in a tank.

Let’s explore the features, advantages, and considerations associated with traditional water heaters.

Features of Traditional Water Heaters:

  • Storage Tank: The key feature of traditional water heaters is the presence of a storage tank that holds a significant amount of water. This tank is insulated to retain heat and keep the stored water hot. 
  • Constant Heating: Traditional water heaters maintain a constant temperature within the tank, ensuring that hot water is readily available whenever a faucet or appliance is turned on.
  • Variety of Sizes: Traditional water heaters come in various sizes to accommodate different household needs. Larger tanks are suitable for homes with higher hot water demand.
  • Ease of Installation: Installation of traditional water heaters is typically straightforward, making them a common choice for many households.
  • Lower Start-up Cost: Traditional water heaters are usually less expensive than tankless types, so they are a good choice for people on a budget.

Advantages of Traditional Water Heaters:

  • Reliable Hot Water Supply: Continuous water heating in the storage tank ensures a reliable and constant supply of hot water for various household needs.
  • Ease of Installation: Installation is typically simpler for traditional water heaters, and replacement units can be installed instead of older models without major modifications.
  • Familiarity: Traditional water heaters have been widely used and are familiar to homeowners and professionals, making them a trusted choice.

Drawbacks for Traditional Water Heaters:

  • Standby Heat Loss: A notable consideration with traditional water heaters is standby heat loss. The continuous water heating in the tank can result in energy loss when hot water is not in use.
  • Limited Lifespan: Traditional water heaters generally have a lifespan of around 8 to 12 years. Over time, the tank may experience corrosion, leading to the need for replacement.
  • Space Requirements: Traditional water heaters require space for the storage tank, which can be a consideration for homes with limited utility space.
  • Energy Efficiency: Traditional water heaters’ overall energy efficiency may be lower than tankless models due to standby heat loss, resulting in saving money.
  • Running Out of Hot Water: In homes with high hot water demand, the water heater typically runs out, especially during peak usage.

Which Water Heater Is Right for You? 

Consider your Macomb, MI, home’s hot water needs, your space, and your budget before deciding on a water heater. You can rely on the HVAC experts at Finzel’s Heating & Cooling to assist you. Expert water heater installers from our company will evaluate your situation and provide an honest assessment. Call us at 586-209-3753 or request service online.

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Contact the experts at Finzel's Heating and Cooling.

Call us at 586-292-3917!