With hot water a must-have convenience for almost every homeowner, it’s a given that you’ll replace your current water heater when the time comes. As you search for your next water heater, you’ll have to decide if you should stick with a traditional water heater or switch to a tankless water heater. To decide which is better for your home, here are a few factors you should keep in mind.

COST

Traditional water heaters still have a strong cost advantage since they’re based on older technology that’s cheaper to manufacture. As a result, the initial purchase price of an average conventional water heater is usually less expensive than its tankless counterpart. On the other hand, a traditional water heater may cost more to operate over the course of its life due to higher energy consumption.

While the installation costs associated with tankless water heaters may also be more expensive (depending on the system’s size and complexity), you may be able to recoup some of your installation costs over the long run through reduced energy usage.

INSTALLATION

Replacing a traditional water heater with another of its type is usually a straightforward affair, at least as long as the replacement is the same size as the original. If you need to upgrade to a larger conventional water heater, you may run into some unexpected size and clearance constraints.

In contrast, a tankless water heater’s compact design gives you more installation options than a traditional water heater. Some models even allow you to install the water heater outdoors to save space. Keep in mind that tankless water heaters have unique venting requirements that may affect your installation choices.

EFFICIENCY

Time and technological advances have made traditional water heaters more energy efficient than their older counterparts. Nevertheless, these units still waste a great deal of energy when compared to tankless water heaters. The main issue involves standby heat—a traditional water heater constantly burns energy in order to maintain a tank full of hot water. Since tankless water heaters provide hot water on demand, there’s no energy wasted on a heating unused water.

On some gas-fired tankless water heaters, the pilot light can be an unexpected source of energy waste. However, it’s possible to offset this wasted energy with the savings gained from eliminating standby energy losses.

CONVENIENCE

With a traditional water heater, there are often delays between opening a faucet and receiving a satisfactory stream of hot water. Tankless water heaters, on the other hand, are designed to deliver near-instantaneous hot water, making showers, baths and other typical household activities involving hot water faster and more convenient.

Most tankless water heaters can handle heavy hot water usage with relative ease. When it comes to heavy water usage at multiple hot water outlets, however, traditional water heaters remain the better option. Whereas a tankless water heater may need multiple heating units—to handle simultaneous showering and dishwater usage, for example—a conventional water heater can handle demand from multiple areas without missing a beat.

MAINTENANCE

A traditional water heater requires a great deal of effort to maintain. Not only must the water tank undergo occasional draining and cleaning to prevent calcium and sediment buildup, but precautions must also be taken to keep the tank from rusting out. In comparison, a tankless water heater doesn’t need much maintenance.

Tankless water heaters also benefit from a longer lifespan. The average tankless water heater has a life expectancy of 20 years or more, depending on how well it’s maintained throughout its life. In comparison, a traditional water heater has a lifespan of 10–15 years.

If you’re still having trouble choosing a water heater that works best for your home, you can always turn to the experts at AAA Home Services. Call us or schedule an appointment through our online form.