Time to replace your water heater? A big question is whether to buy a tank or tankless water heater. We think that tank heaters are the best option for now. We’ve put together some general information to help you understand the difference between the two types and make an educated choice.
The Tankless Water Heater Myth
Tankless technology is not all it’s cracked up to be. First of all, they are not as “green” as manufacturers claim, nor do they actually provide “instantaneous” hot water. Tankless heaters still have to heat the same amount of water, and that water still has to travel from heater to faucet. Also, tankless water heaters have more parts and are more complicated. This means they’re more difficult to service and maintain than traditional tank heaters. What we are getting at is: tankless water heaters come at a price.
Is It Worth the Cost to Go Tankless?
Budget and energy consumption are important considerations. Tankless water heaters are very expensive upfront. Although some argue that they are more energy-efficient and will therefore save you money in the long run, this isn’t necessarily true. In this study, for example, researchers found that most tankless water heaters will wear out before they save enough energy to justify their cost. A well-insulated tank heater can be just as efficient (if not more so), and it will cost you less.
What about the Weather?
Climate is also a factor. People who live in colder climates or areas with harsh winters, like St. Louis, are better off using tank water heaters. The colder the water coming into the home, the more energy needed to boost water temperatures high enough to get hot water for the shower. So it’s more sensible to have a storage tank with a reserve of hot water. Plus, tankless water heaters are prone to freezing in cold weather if they are not totally drained.