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Tankless vs. Storage Heaters

Tankless water heater

Why pay to heat water you won’t use right away – or pay to heat the same water twice?

That’s the question designers at a company called Stiebel-Eltron asked themselves almost a century ago – and their answers led to the development of the first tankless water heater.

Today’s high efficiency tankless water heaters bear little resemblance to their forebears, but their basic approach is the same: heat only the water you need, when you need it.

By operating this way, a tankless system enjoys some important advantages over a storage-type water heater, including:

  • Unlimited hot water – With a right-sized tankless water heater, the hot water will flow continuously for as long as it is fed by your main water line.
  • Lower bills – By working only when needed, not using a pilot light, and never having to reheat water that has been sitting in a storage tank losing heat in a cold basement, a tankless water heater could cut your monthly bills by as much as 40 percent compared to a storage-type unit.
  • More placement flexibility – A tankless water heater is compact – about the size of a suitcase – and can be wall mounted. That makes it a candidate for placement just about anywhere in the house, including closets and crawl spaces.
  • Longer equipment life – Steel storage tanks don’t like water – especially hard water – which is why most water heater tanks don’t last much more than a decade or so. With a tankless system, there is no need to store corrosive water, which is why tankless water heaters can last up to twice as long as a conventional water heater.
  • More value for your home – A tankless water heater will improve your Home Energy Rating System (HERS) and LEED scores, which means your home will be worth more if you plan to sell it.

So…Tank or No Tank?

As you can see, the advantages of a tankless water heater are clear. So what are the disadvantages?

Mostly, it comes down to the upfront purchase price, which can be twice as high as a conventional storage water heater or more. Of course in the long run, the energy savings and equipment longevity make costs a wash at best (pardon the pun), but not everyone is willing or able to make that initial investment.

With that in mind, here are some rules of thumb for choosing between a storage or tankless water heater:

  • For singles or couples – If you don’t use large amounts of water and are replacing a storage water heater, investing in a conventional water could be a better choice.
  • For new construction, or for larger families and efficiency-conscious / space-challenged homeowners, tankless heaters are the best choice. Just make sure to get a professional to help you size and install your tankless heater for years of trouble-free service.

A tankless water heater can be a great option – as long as it’s the right choice for your Finger Lakes-area home, and as long as it is sized and installed by professionals – like the ones you will always find at Ehrhart Energy.

Contact us today to talk with our water heater experts, or to get a FREE, no obligation estimate on a high-efficiency water heater for your home.