Whether it’s time for a water heater replacement or you’re purchasing your first-ever water heater, it’s important to know what to look for. And no, all water heaters are not created equal. The type of water heater you select doesn’t just determine how much hot water your home has to work with; it also directly impacts your annual household energy spending. 

You’re probably already familiar with traditional storage-tank-style water heaters, and while they’re popular, they aren’t the only option on the market. Have you considered another style, the tankless water heater? Because it may turn out to be a better option for your home.

Below, the experts at Steve’s Plumbing & Heating share what you should know about these two styles of water heaters to help you make the right choice for your household.

What Is a Tankless Water Heater?

A tankless water heater is exactly what it sounds like: a water heater without a water storage tank. The appliance is often referred to as an on-demand water heater because it only heats water while a hot water faucet is on.

The apparatus rapidly heats cold, incoming water using high-powered gas burners, electric heating coils, and a heat exchanger. Just a second or two after the water enters the unit, it reaches the appropriate temperature and immediately exits the unit and travels through the plumbing system, piping hot.

Storage-Tank vs. Tankless Water Heaters: Efficiency

If you’re due for a water heater replacement and you’re looking for ways to cut down on your household energy spending, opting for a tankless water heater can help. That’s especially true if you’re making the switch from a storage-tank water heater, which can consume up to 25% of your annual household energy usage! 

Depending on the type of tankless unit you opt for, it can operate up to 30% more efficiently than the average storage-tank water heater. That’s because, rather than constantly keeping a huge tank of water hot, a tankless unit only heats water for immediate use.

Water Heater Installation: Storage-Tank vs. Tankless Units

Which style of water heater is more affordable? That really depends on how you look at it. While storage-tank units cost less to purchase and install, they don’t last as long as their tankless counterparts, so that’s something to consider.

On average, a tankless water heater lasts about 20 years, while a tank-style unit lasts between six and 12 years. You’ll pay more upfront for tankless water heater installation, but your unit will likely have double the lifespan of a storage-tank unit and will also save you money on your energy bills every month. 

Which Water Heater Performs Better?

When it comes to performance, both storage-tank and tankless water heaters do an excellent job — they just perform differently. On the one hand, tank-style units take some time to heat water and of course, they have a finite capacity. So with a storage-tank water heater, it’s not uncommon to find yourself running out of water temporarily.

Tankless water heaters, on the other hand, have a lower flow capacity than their tank-style counterparts. So although you’ll never technically run out of hot water since the unit heats it on demand, you might find that there’s not quite enough supply to go around if you’re using hot water in multiple places simultaneously.

Ultimately, the amount of hot water your household uses should be a major determining factor as you weigh your water heater options. As well, the length of time you plan to stay in your current home and your water heater installation budget should also factor into your final decision.

Hire a Plumber for Water Heater Installation Today

Whether your house is due for a water heater replacement or you’re in the market for your first water heater, get in touch with our team at Steve’s Plumbing & Heating. We specialize in comprehensive water heater installation and repair and offer the best workmanship guarantees in the business. We serve Wisconsin Rapids, Marshfield, Stevens Point, Wausau, and the surrounding central Wisconsin areas.

Give us a call today at 715-421-1800, contact us online, or request an estimate to get started or learn more.