How often do you think about your water heater? If you’re like most homeowners, the answer is probably, “not very much.” While you’re not alone, it’s not a good idea to wait until something goes wrong with this system to start thinking about it. And when something does go wrong with it, you’ll be left to decide if it’s worth repairing or if you should invest in a replacement.
A general rule of thumb on that matter is that a water heater in disrepair should be upgraded when it’s reached about 15–20 years, or if it’s showing signs of corrosion.
That leads you to an important question: what should you replace that water heater with? Sure, it’s easy to just buy another standard storage tank water heater, but that’s not your only option. Have you ever considered going tankless? Read on as we talk about the pros and cons of both.
About Tank Water Heaters
These are the most common types of water heaters seen in homes today. They’re typically low cost to install, and they do their job well so long as they’re properly matched to the home they’re in.
The distinguishing feature of a storage tank water heater is as the name implies–it uses a tank to store water. Tank water heaters are available in a variety of sizes to meet the needs of individual households. The reason for this is because once a tank water heater’s supply runs out, there is a delay as it heats up a new batch of water.
By keeping a larger reserve of water to draw from, you can use the hot water for longer without it needing to refill. Naturally, the bigger the hot water demand in your home, the larger the tank should be.
There is a drawback to the tank water heater’s method of heating water. If any of its hot water goes unused, it cools off–which means you lose energy from standby heat loss. So let’s say you had a tank installed that’s actually too large for your home’s needs, or you bought your home and existing water heater when you were a family of five, and now your kids are grown and left home—you’re using and paying for more electricity than necessary, in this case, to power up your tank water heater.
About Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless systems are a great alternative to their storage tank counterparts and are growing in popularity. Tankless systems operate in a fundamentally different way. As the name suggests, a tankless system does not use a storage tank of any type. Instead, these systems create hot water through electrical resistance, and the hot water only comes on when there’s a demand for it from a tap.
This is why these water heaters are also called “on-demand” water heaters. They do not waste as much energy as a tank system, but they do have their limits. Be sure to talk to your plumbing professional about getting yours adequately sized for your specific home and needs.