Tankless vs. Storage Heaters
July 6, 2019
Why pay to heat water you won’t use right away – or pay to heat the same water twice?
That’s the question German designers at Stiebel-Eltron asked themselves almost a century ago – and their answers led to the development of the first “coil immersion” water heater – the precursor to today’s tankless water heaters.
Although modern tankless water heaters bear little resemblance to their coil immersion cousins, their basic approach is the same: heat water on demand. By operating this way, a tankless system enjoys some important advantages over a storage-type water heater, including:
- Unlimited hot water – With a right-sized tankless water heater, hot water will flow continuously for as long as it is fed by your main water line. You’ll never run out of hot water!
- Much greater efficiency – By working only when needed, not using a pilot light, and never having to reheat water that has been sitting in a storage tank losing heat in a cold basement, a tankless water heater can improve efficiency by as much as 40 percent.
- Quality components – Components in a tankless water heater system are top quality, so they fail less often and can often be repaired rather than replaced.
- More placement flexibility – Since it lacks a storage tank, a tankless water heater is small – about the size of a suitcase. It can also be wall mounted, which means a tankless water heater can be placed just about anywhere in the house, including closets and crawl spaces.
- Longer equipment life – Most water heater tanks don’t last much more than a decade or so – but because it doesn’t store water, a tankless system can last twice that long or more. The average life expectancy of a tankless water heater is about 20 years!
- More value for your home – A tankless water heater will improve your Home Energy Rating System (HERS) and LEED scores, which means your home will be worth more if you plan to sell it.
So…Tank or No Tank?
As you can see, the advantages of a tankless water heater are clear. So what are the disadvantages?
Mostly, it comes down to the upfront purchase price, which can be twice as high as a conventional storage water heater or more. Of course in the long run, the energy savings and equipment longevity will offset that initial cost.
Another consideration is maintenance: a tankless system should be professionally serviced every year, while a storage-type system could be a bit more forgiving if you skip your tune-up.
With all of this in mind, here are some rules of thumb for choosing between a storage or tankless water heater:
- For singles or couples – If you don’t use large amounts of water and are replacing a storage water heater, investing in a conventional water could be a better choice.
- For new construction, or for larger families and efficiency-conscious / space-challenged homeowners – Tankless heaters are absolutely worth the investment. Just make sure to get a professional to help you size and install your tankless heater for years of trouble-free service.
A tankless water heater can be a great option – as long as it’s the right choice for your Eastern Carolina home, and as long as it is sized and installed by professionals like the ones you will always find at Cherry Energy. Contact us today to talk with our water heater experts! Or visit our new showroom at 2213 Hull Rd in Kinston, NC, where we have a Rinnai tankless water heater on display. Rebates are available, as well!