Water heaters usually come in two standard forms: storage tanks and tankless. While both options serve their purpose, it may be hard to know which option is better suited for you.
In the average home, storage water tanks are the more likely option to be found. Depending on whether your water heater is gas or electric, the tank can store between 20 to 105 gallons. We use Bradford White water heaters which can store an average of 50 to 100 gallons of water.
Storage water heaters work by heating the water in the tank so it’s ready to use when you turn on a faucet. Hot water is pulled from the top of the tank when you turn on the hot water and cool water then enters the tank to be heated so the tank will be full the next time you need hot water.
If you live in a mobile home, you may have a small water heater around 20 to 50 gallons. That means you will run out of the hot water quicker. For instance, if you take a long shower, you may not be able to have hot water again for another hour as the tank refills and reheats its supply. For larger homes and apartment buildings, many have larger tanks reaching around the 100-gallon size which allows for the hot water to not be depleted as quickly.
One major con that comes with storage tanks is the ability to lose heat through the sides of the tank and venting heat loss (with gas and oil water heaters). When looking for a storage tank water heater, you should look for one with an R-Value of R-12 to R-25 so the standby heat loss is minimal.
Over time, the heat loss of a standard storage tank type of water heater could be significant depending on how you and your family use hot water. Although the standard home is already equipped with a storage tank water heater, you could still invest in a tankless option if it better suits you and your homes needs.
Tankless Water Heater
The major differences between a storage water heater and a tankless water heater are how they heat the water and where they are located in the home. Tankless heaters never run out of hot water. Since the water heater heats the water as it pushes it through rather than storing it in a tank, it can continue doing so as long as the heating capacity is large enough for the demands. We install Navien tankless heaters which have large heating capacities.
Tankless heaters also do not have standby losses. Since none of the water is actually stored in the unit, the heat is not released. Another benefit to tankless heaters is the amount of energy they use. According to Energy.gov, tankless heaters use 30 to 50% less energy than units with tanks. This can save $100 or more depending on the average water usage in your household.
There are cons to tankless heaters, too. For instance, tankless heaters are typically more expensive initially and will need to be installed in multiple areas throughout the home to be the most efficient. Typically, they are installed under a sink in the bathroom or kitchen and in the utility room. You may need an additional gas or electric supply-line, which can mean remodeling to that area of your home. Since we install Navien tanks, though, the amount of remodeling is reduced significantly. The gas pipe is about ½ an inch which is much smaller than competing brands.
Which Should I Use?
To wrap it up, both storage and tankless water heaters have their own pros and cons. Knowing which one to use is a combination of your households hot water demand and your budget. With help from one of our professionals, we can calculate your hot water usage and needs and let you know if a tankless water heater is right for you, call us today!