Is it time to invest in a new water heater? With even a small amount of research, its easy to get confused on what water heater to buy. Everyone says to go with new technology – tankless water heaters are the best. But what about the standard tank-type water heater, is that still a viable option?
Tank Water Heaters
Most water heaters in existing homes, and even on the market today are tank water heaters, also known as storage water heaters. They are insulated tanks that can hold anywhere from 20 to 120 gallons of water, depending on the the size of your home and your needs. They run either on an electric heating element or a gas burner. The storage tank feeds from the top down, with hot water stored at the top and cold at the bottom. This way you get consistent hot water until the hot water stored is depleted. Most water heaters will be rated by a “first hour rating”, which tells you how many gallons of hot water can be delivered in an hour.
Because you don’t demand hot water all the time, the tank water heater will store hot water and leave it in storage until you demand it. Even though its insulated, it will have heat loss, especially when the temperature outside drops significantly.
Tankless Water Heaters
To address this issue, tankless water heaters were developed. The great feature of a tankless water heater is they never run out of hot water because its on demand, providing the water heating capacity is large enough to meet the needs of the hot water demands. They won’t have a stand-by loss because nothing is stored.
However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t without problems. Tankless water heaters can cost anywhere from triple to quadruple more than the average tank model, with increased installation costs as well. That means it will take many more years to break even from the initial cost.
Tankless water heaters have a significantly greater maintenance requirement than its tank water heater counterpart, meaning you may have much higher costs in keeping the unit running, especially in high demand homes. The more you use it, the more can go wrong.
Tankless also list a benefit of having hot water on demand. That depends on where your tankless water heater is, and where you demand it. If your tankless water heater is in the south side of your basement, and your bathroom is in the north part of your home on the second story, the hot water still must travel from the water heater to your faucet. Which means it can still take a minute or two to arrive, depending on the size of your home. And in some large houses, one tankless water heater simply can’t keep up with the demand, which means your investment costs may double to have an adequate supply.
Bottom line: tank water heaters, especially if you invest in one of the highest energy rated models available, still make the most sense for the majority of Colorado households. Give us a call today and we can answer any of your questions.