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Tankless Water Heaters Versus Tank Water Heaters

Smart-Series-Indirect Water Heating

Tank or Tankless?

Before you venture out to buy your next water heater, it is important to learn about the common types of water heaters – tank and tankless water heaters.

boiler room with water heater

Tankless Water Heaters

With this type of water heater, all the mechanisms that heat the tap water are held in a single box-like unit. Components inside the box unit include inlet and outlet sensors, thermostats, a heat exchanger, piping, a burner or heating element, valve, fan and electronic circuitry that regulates heating and the fan.

How does a tankless water heater work?

Once you turn the faucet on, water flows into the heater and after it has entered the heater, the burner is activated by the electronic inlet sensor and it heats up the heat exchanger. Electric tankless water heaters don’t have a burner but rather have a heating element that utilizes electricity to heat up. The pipe through which the water flow gets heated up and in turn heats up the water. As the water exits through the outlet, it comes out hot and ready for use.


– Has a longer lifespan

– More energy efficient

– Saves on space due to small size and is also less bulky

– Most models are same size as a suitcase

– The lack of tank means no ruptures or flooding


– It has a high upfront cost upwards of $1,000, which includes sealed venting system for gas type heaters, gas line, and electrical installation.

– It requires a minimum flow in order to heat up the heat exchanger, which means that some water is water in the heating up process.

– It serves only one faucet at a time thus you get hot water from only one shower.

Tank Type Water Heaters

As the name suggests, this type of water heater has a tank that stores water for heating. It has a cylinder-like unit that houses a vent connector, thermostat control, cold water inlet, hot water outlet, pilot light, gas pipe, drip leg, and burner.

How does it work?

After cold water enters, it activates the cold water in the sensor. Hot water at the bottom that has been heated up by the burner is drawn by the unit which then passes it through the hot water valve outlet. In case the water becomes cold, the unit sensor detects the temperature drop and the burner or heater is started again.


– It has a low upfront cost which includes installation and unit cost

– It can serve multiple users, meaning that one person in the household can shower while another uses the dishwasher

– There are Energy-Star certified options


– High maintenance cost in the long-run

– Heat loss when not being used

– Build up of calcium in the tank

– Shorter lifespan – 10 to 15 years

– Retrofitting is often costly and difficult

– Possibility of floods due to rupture

– Needs more space because of the tank

Hybrid Water Heaterswater heater

This type of tank combines both the tankless and tank water heater. It has the efficiency, advantages, and drawbacks of tank-type and tankless water heater. When you invest in a hybrid water heater, you will have a tank reservoir while still enjoying the efficiency of the small size water heater unit. Rheem, an American water heater maker features one of such water heaters you can check out. Additionally, a number of manufacturers are looking to combine supercapacitors, chemical cell and solar energy technology with the aim to make such a super-efficient water heater.

If you are running on a low budget, a tank water heater is the most viable option for you, however, if you are in a good financial position, then you may want to consider a tankless water heater and gain the benefits of long-term savings and energy efficiency. Alternatively, you can go for hybrid water heater that brings together both types. It all depends on your budget, needs, and situation.

Contact us if you are in need of a high-quality and affordable repair, maintenance, or installation of your water heater, furnace, air conditioner, or heat pumps. Our team of committed HVAC professionals are here to provide a solution to all your HVAC needs.

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