Choosing Between Tank and Tankless Water Heaters

There are two main styles of water heaters offered on

Tank water heaters are the most common, with a reserve of hot water that is maintained 24 hours a day.

Tankless or on-demand water heaters produce hot water as it is needed without the use of a storage tank.

Conventional storage tank water heaters keep water heated constantly which can provide hot water for heavy demands, but can also waste energy. When selecting a tank size, consider the peak hour water demand. If you only use one shower in a given hour, your tank will probably be able to handle the load. However, if there are times where multiple fixtures and appliances are running simultaneously for extended periods, an undersized tank may not contain enough hot water to support your activities and will take some time to heat back up again. Tank heaters work best in a situation where a household might use multiple showers at the same time every morning. They run on natural gas, propane, oil or electric. Gas and oil tank water heaters use chimney, power or direct venting and electric units do not need to be vented.

In tankless systems, water enters the heater and heats up instantly. As long as max per-minute flow rate is not exceeded there is no end to your supply of hot water. Since the water is heated on demand, the size is important and you will need to purchase a unit that can handle your water needs at any given time. They are sized based on maximum usage per minute. For example if you run two showers simultaneously in the morning, you will need to account for the combined water usage. Your geographical location can also impact tankless sizing because the temperature of your supply water can affect how much water can be heated at any given time. Tankless heaters work best in a household where multiple showers are taken one right after the other. They are available in natural gas, propane or electric. Gas tankless water heaters use power or direct venting and electric units do not need to be vented.
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