Clean and fresh water is important. It is also important to have warm water when you need it.
There are two different ways to heat water in your home: a tank system and a tankless system (also called an on-demand water heater).
How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work
A tankless water heater heats water instantly inside the unit using something called a heat exchanger. They can run on gas or electricity.
A heat exchanger is a device that transfers heat from the unit to the water inside the tankless unit. It heats water continuously so you will not run out.
How Does a Tank Water Heater Work
A tank-style water heater heats an entire tank of water. The tank keeps the water warm until it is needed. The tank keeps the water warm at a slightly lower temperature than the tankless system.
A tank-based system can also be gas or electric. The system is large enough to maintain hot water for an average-sized family. It is unlikely that you will run out of water in a tank-based system unless your water heater has not had proper maintenance.
What is the Difference Between a Tank Water Heater And a Tankless Water Heater?
The difference is simply that a tank-based system heats an entire tank of water and waits to be used. A tankless water heater heats up the water running through it as you need it.
A tankless water heater will produce hotter water than a tank-based system.
Why Should You Choose a Tank or Tankless Water Heater?
Each water heater has its own pros and cons. A tankless system allows your home to have near-constant streams of hot water. The tankless system can take longer to warm and will require more water usage.
A tank system will provide immediate warm water. It will also run all day and require more energy to keep it heated.
Pros of the Tankless Water Heater
Here are some reasons to get yourself a tankless water heater:
- It can save you 30% – 50% in energy savings
- Takes up less space than the average boiler or tank-based system
- Less likely to break and cause a large flood in your home
Cons of The Tankless Water Heater
- They are usually more expensive
- They are not instant and take some time to warm the first bit of water
- The unit’s capacity can limit how much water you actually get
- They will not work during a power outage
- Hard water can greatly affect some units
Pros of a Tank-Based Water Heater
- Lower cost to replace and maintain
Cons of a Tank-Based Water Heater
- Higher utility bills
- You can run out of hot water
- Shorter lifespan than the tankless system
Does a Tankless Water Heater Need to be Maintained?
Your tankless water heater (and tank or boiler heater) should be flushed and maintained yearly.
The tankless system is greatly affected by hard water and sediment. This is also a concern for tank-based systems. The tank-based system can fill up with sediment decreasing how much hot water is available to your family. The tankless system can get clogged.
You should have your system flushed with sediment and hard water yearly. You should also have the system maintained. This is especially important for tank-based systems. A tank-based system is more likely to break and cause a flood in your home doing large amounts of damage.
Maintenance ensures the system is running smoothly and will not run into any problems. This will help extend the life of your heater.
What is Better a Gas or Electric Water Heater?
Electric heaters are considered more efficient. They are however more expensive to run because of the cost of electricity vs. the cost of gas. A gas heater is less expensive because of the price of gas.
When it comes to deciding between the two it is best to speak to a specialist about how your home is set up. A contractor will be able to tell you what is already installed and the cost of installing a new system.
Can I Install My Own Water System?
Both systems require a large amount of plumbing knowledge to install. While you do have the ability to put the system in yourself we highly recommend contacting a specialist to install your system.
A poorly installed system can have a shorter lifespan, higher maintenance fees, and can sometimes flood your home.
A tankless system is very complicated and requires a specialist that also knows electricity to install it properly.
A tankless system is commonly installed in the basement, crawlspace, or its own closet. If you are looking to install your system outdoors make sure you get a system that can withstand the elements.
Learn more about how a tank-based water heater is installed.
Do Tankless Water Heaters Work on Well Water?
A tankless system will work on well water. There are however a few factors that may cause problems while installing or during the life of your tankless water heater.
- The temperature of the water coming in will affect how long it takes to heat
- The water pressure can affect your heat
- Hard water and sediment can greatly affect the life and effectiveness of your tankless water heater
Using Water Heaters For In-Floor Radiant Heating Systems
We have seen multiple failures with tankless systems being used as in-floor radiant heating systems.
They were not designed to do this.
As a solution, we’ve been replacing non-functioning units with Navien combi boiler systems. These tankless systems are the perfect solution for both domestic hot water needs and radiant in-floor heating.
Want to learn more about the Combi Boiler Systems or other water tank heating systems? Contact us today.