Homeowners looking at new water heaters have an important choice to make these days — choose a water heater with a tank or go tankless. It’s common to have a lot of questions about the differences between the two and which is better, so let’s look at how each system works, and why that’s important.

How Traditional Water Heaters Work

That large, cylindrical tank at the heart of your water heater holds all the hot water available to your house. It is equipped with a set of sensors that monitor the temperature throughout the tank. When the temperature drops below a certain point, then the tank automatically starts to heat up via a burner or heating element at the bottom.

This means that there is always a tank full of heated water for you to access at any time. However, once that tank is depleted it can take time to fill and heat again to proper levels, so there’s a limit on how much hot water you have.

Additionally, it’s important to remember that water in the tank is always heated. That can be very convenient at odd times of the day, but it also means that you can waste energy to keep water heated even though you won’t use it. This can be frustrating when you want to save on energy costs.

While some tanks are sometimes used as supplements for specific appliances or solar heating systems, they can also function as a sole water heater, especially for smaller homes that have less demand.

How Tankless Water Heaters Work

A tankless water heater heats water directly from the line instead of holding it in a tank. They use far larger, more powerful elements and burners that can rapidly heat water the moment you turn on the faucet. Because tankless water heaters eliminate the need to maintain a large supply of pre-heated water they are much more energy efficient than conventional tank heaters. Tankless units provide hot water on demand eliminating the need to expend energy heating stored water.

Tankless water heaters are a great choice for those that want an energy saving hot water solution. With a properly sized tankless water heating system you can have multiple showerheads and body sprays without the concern of running out of hot water.

Tankless water heaters can be easily mounted on a wall due to their size, typically the size of a medicine cabinet. This allows the tankless water heater to be closer to the point of use which solves the problem of a long wait for hot water. Hot water delivery has to do with where the water heater is located not the type of water heater.

The convenient digital wall mounted controls allow you to adjust the temperature as often as you wish. So, if you want your dishwasher temperature to be 120 degrees but need the baby’s bath to be 106 degrees, you can have either at the desired temperature with a tankless water heater.

Making a Choice

Both traditional and tankless water heaters have their own distinct advantages, making either of them an excellent choice. Do you have more questions about which water heater is right for you? We can help! Contact us at R & D Mechanical Services for all of your heating or cooling needs.

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