Tank vs. Tankless Water Heaters


Having hot water when you need it is important.  Often times you do not realize how much a water heater can impact you until you are the one in your household left with the cold shower.

Your overall “hot” water consumption depends on your house’s plumbing system and the number of people living with you.  The question often becomes when should you consider a tankless water heater vs. a tank water heater?  When considering this question, there are several factors you should know first.a woman in the shower unhappy due to cold water


Tankless water heaters are designed to produce “Hot” water on demand.  Water passes through a heat exchanger inside the unit causing the water to become hot.  This process involves a burner that is normally powered by natural gas, propane, or electricity.  Tankless water heaters do NOT store hot water and only produce hot water when you demand it by turning on the hot side of a faucet or your shower, etc. a white tankless water heater and the plumbing connections for it

As with any product, there are several Pros and Cons to consider before deciding if this solution fits your home needs. 

Tankless Pros

  • No running out of hot water with tankless, units will keep producing hot water as it is demanded
  • Most tankless water heaters will last 15 – 30 years
  • Saves money on energy – Your energy consumption is reduced as you only pay to heat water when it is needed vs. paying to keep water hot in a storage tank no matter when it is needed
  • Reduces risks – there is no tank full of water to leak or cause water damage to your home or garage if it fails
  • Takes up less space – Tankless units are small and can be installed in tight spaces

Tankless Cons

  • Initial Investment – Tankless units tend to cost more than a tank water heater.  It depends on the brand, type (gas, propane, electric) and the number of GPM (gallons per minute) of hot water the unit produces
  • Hot Water Output – Tankless units need to match the worst-case scenario and often times are undersized for the household needs.  Making sure you have a unit that can produce enough hot water for all fixtures running at the same time is important to the overall function of the unit.
  • Potential Re-work – Depending on your home’s layout and access to natural gas, propane or electric, you may need additional changes made to your home (costing you more upfront) for installation to be possible


A tank water heater is the most common water heater.  It has a storage tank or a water reservoir that, is typically insulated and can hold anywhere from 30 gallons to 80 gallons of “hot” water. 

The tank is piped to your house and when hot water is needed, the water is sent to the fixture.  Coldwater then replaces the hot water that was used and the tank will heat the water again, keeping the water hot till needed again.  Tank water heaters also have Pros and Cons to consider before you decide if keeping your tank water heater is right for your home.    a tank water heater

Tank Pros

  • Lower initial installation cost – A standard tank water heater typically costs less than a tankless water heater
  • Simple Operation – Most tank water heaters are very simple to operate and do not have extensive maintenance or repair costs

Tank Cons

  • It does not supply an Endless supply of hot water – Eventually, your tank will run out of hot water and you will have to wait until the unit can fill up and warm the water to the set temperature.  In other words, do NOT be the last one to take a shower if your tank runs out fast.
  • Uses unnecessary energy – Tank water heaters use energy all day long to keep the water in the tank hot, even when you do not need hot water
  • Potential Water Damage Risks – Since the tank water heater is keeping 30 – 80 gallons of water stored at all times, if there is a failure with the product, there is the risk of water damage to the surrounding rooms, floor, ceilings, etc.
  • Shorter life span – The average life span of a tank water heater is 8 – 10 years, requiring you to replace them more often
  • Take up more space – Depending on the space you have available; you may be limited on the size of tank water heater you can have as they tend to be much larger than a tankless unit

Which Water Heater is Right for You and Your Home?

Picking the right type of water heater for you and your home can be a challenging decision.  When you have all the facts about each option, the decision can become easier to make.  Taking into account your home’s water consumption and use, our Plumbing Technicians can present you with a variety of options that best meet your needs.  Contact us today, to schedule an appointment with one of our highly skilled plumbing technicians who can provide you with all in the information you will need.  At Dependable Service Plumbing & Air, your home’s water consumption and requirements are our concern.  Contact us today at 843-627-2337.