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Tankless Water Heaters vs. Traditional Water Heaters

Posted on: January 25, 2017

Has the time come to replace your water heater? Before you go and buy a new one, make sure you are getting the right one for your needs. To begin this process, you must decide whether you need a traditional water heater or a tankless option. The Black Diamond Plumbing & Mechanical team is here to help you select the water heater that will best suit you.

Understanding How a Traditional Water Heater Works

A traditional water heater stores and heats between 30 and 50 gallons of water in a large tank. The tank keeps the water warm until someone turns on the warm water in a faucet, shower or appliance. As it drains, the tank refills with newly heated water. Should someone drain all of the water in an application, the tap may not run hot until the tank has had a chance to refill and re-warm a new round of water.

Benefits and Drawbacks of a Traditional Water Heater

Most people who choose a traditional water heater do so because of the lower initial cost. These models can be about half the price of a tankless option. If your budget is limited, initial cost is a primary consideration. They’re also easier to replace. While professional installation is preferred, some will tackle this as a DIY project.

That said, traditional water heaters are more costly to run. They also take up quite a bit of room, and they are not always sufficient for the hot water needs of the home. These water heaters typically last between 10 and 15 years, which is shorter than the expected lifespan of a tankless model.

How a Tankless Water Heater Works

A tankless water heater does not store pre-heated water, but rather heats water as it is needed. It is connected to a fuel source—either electric or natural gas—and only heats the water as it is in use. With a tankless model, it’s nearly impossible to run out of hot water.

Benefits and Drawbacks of a Tankless Water Heater

Tankless water heaters use much less energy than traditional water heaters and they have a longer lifespan of around 20 or more years. They are smaller and hang on a wall rather than taking up space in the middle of the room. Tankless water heaters only heat water as it is needed and can provide two to three gallons per minute.

The main drawback to tankless water heaters is the high initial cost. These require professional installation and can cost twice as much as traditional models. If the home needs to be retrofitted because you are replacing your traditional water heater, then the cost will be even more.

Which Water Heater Is Right for You?

The answer to this question depends on your family’s demands and budget. You will save about $100 a year with a tankless water heater, and that fact combined with the longer lifespan makes it the logical choice for most property owners who are looking to save money in the long run. However, if the upfront cost is prohibitive, you can get efficient, reliable service with a traditional model.

If you find yourself wondering which choice to make, consult with the team at Black Diamond Plumbing & Mechanical. We will help you weigh your options and determine which water heater would make the most sense for your Chicago area home. Call us today at 866-350-4793!

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