Choosing the right water heater is crucial for your home’s comfort and efficiency.
When it comes to hot water systems, two popular options are instant water heaters (also known as tankless or on-demand water heaters) and tank water heaters. Each option has advantages and disadvantages that you should consider before deciding which is best for your home.
Before we delve into the comparisons, let’s quickly define what these two types of water heaters are in case you are unfamiliar with the terminology.
Tank water heaters store water in a reservoir or tank where it is continually heated and ready for use. You are probably already familiar with this conventional system. It’s that big, tall, cylindrical thing in your basement.
Electric tankless water heaters heat water at the source when and as it’s needed. These water heaters are generally much smaller than a tank and shaped like a box. You can find large capacity on-demand water heaters that service your entire house, or opt for smaller, point-of-use instant water heaters that you can install right under your sink.
Now that we’re all on the same page, let’s look at how each system is different as far as the pros and cons of each.
- Energy Efficiency: Instant water heaters are highly energy-efficient. Unlike tank water heaters that constantly heat and store a large volume of water, instant water heaters only heat water when needed. This saves energy and can lead to significant cost savings on your utility bills.
- Space Savings: Instant water heaters are compact and don’t take up very much space. They can be installed in small utility closets or under sinks, freeing up valuable space in your home. In contrast, tank water heaters require significant space due to their large storage tanks.
- Hot Water Demand: With instant water heaters, you always have hot water, even during peak usage times or for larger households. Have you ever run out of hot water in the middle of a shower? That’s because a tank water heater only has as much hot water as it can store and if you are the last person in line for a shower in a busy household, you could be out of luck. However, if you have a small household with relatively low hot water requirements a tank water heater will probably be sufficient.
- Water Waste: Have you ever started to let the water in the shower or the sink run waiting for the water to heat up? The average American family wastes about 8 gallons of water per day waiting for water to heat up. That may not sound like a lot but it adds up to almost 3,000 gallons per year! Point-of-use water heaters provide instant hot water meaning no more letting the faucet run while waiting for your water to warm up.
- Cost: Tank water heaters generally have a lower upfront cost than instant water heaters, making them more affordable if you have budget constraints. However, be sure to factor in the long-term savings of an electric tankless heater.
Remember to assess your specific needs and circumstances when deciding between an instant water heater and a tank water heater. Factors such as energy efficiency, space available, hot water demand, eco-friendliness, and budget constraints vs. long term savings should be considered to determine which option is better suited to you and your home.