Key Differences Between Tankless and Standard Hot Water Heaters

Tankless and standard hot water heaters are two common options for residential water heating systems, each offering distinct advantages and differences in operation. The following paragraphs outline the main differences between these two types of water heaters.

Key Differences Between Tankless and Standard Hot Water Heaters

NY Plumbing Pros Has Installed Thousands of Water Heaters, Here are a Few Takeaways Worth Considering

  1. Design and Size: The most apparent difference lies in their design and size. A standard hot water heater, also known as a storage-tank water heater, consists of a large tank that stores and continuously heats a set amount of water. In contrast, a tankless water heater, as the name suggests, does not have a storage tank. It heats water on demand as it flows through the unit using high-powered burners or electric heating elements. This design difference means that tankless water heaters are typically smaller and more compact, making them suitable for smaller spaces or installations in tight areas.
  2. Energy Efficiency: Tankless water heaters are known for their higher energy efficiency compared to standard water heaters. Since they heat water only when needed, they do not incur the standby heat losses associated with storage tank heaters, which continuously keep water hot. This energy-saving feature can result in lower utility bills. Additionally, tankless heaters can be more efficient because they don’t have to continuously reheat the same water, reducing energy waste.
  3. Hot Water Supply: The hot water supply capacity is another significant distinction between the two types. Storage tank heaters can hold a predetermined amount of hot water, typically ranging from 20 to 80 gallons, depending on the size of the tank. Once the stored hot water is depleted, it takes time for the tank to refill and reheat the water. In contrast, tankless water heaters provide an endless supply of hot water. They heat water instantaneously as it passes through the unit, allowing for continuous hot water availability, regardless of the demand.
  4. Installation and Maintenance: The installation process and maintenance requirements vary between tankless and standard water heaters. Tankless heaters often require professional installation due to their complex setup and the need to connect to gas lines or electrical systems. In contrast, standard water heaters are typically simpler to install and can be done as a DIY project. Maintenance-wise, tankless units may require periodic descaling to remove mineral buildup, while standard heaters need occasional tank flushing to eliminate sediment accumulation.
  5. Initial Cost: The upfront cost is another factor to consider when comparing the two types of water heaters. Generally, tankless water heaters tend to have a higher initial cost compared to standard water heaters. The cost of the unit, installation, and any necessary modifications can be more expensive for tankless heaters. However, it’s important to note that over time, the energy savings provided by tankless heaters can offset the initial investment, making them a cost-effective choice in the long run.

For property owners considering making a change in New York, it is important to recognize that tankless and standard hot water heaters differ in terms of design, energy efficiency, hot water supply, installation, maintenance, and initial cost.  Long Island Plumbing Pros installs both tankless and standard water heaters, and we are just a phone call away. While tankless water heaters offer energy savings, a compact size, and endless hot water, standard water heaters are simpler to install, have lower upfront costs, and are easier to maintain. Choosing the right type of water heater depends on individual preferences, available space, hot water demand, and budget considerations, it’s also a good idea to check with your city or local municipalities requirements when replacing a water heater.

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