Tankless vs. storage: Which water heater is right for my home?

Tankless vs. storage: Which water heater is right for my home?

Here in Elgin, Illinois, most homes have a traditional storage water heater. Storage water heaters are efficient and reliable, but they’re not the only type of water heater out there. 

Tankless water heaters, in particular, make an attractive alternative – eschewing the storage tank for a system that heats the water up instantly when you need it. That gives you a choice with your water heater options: storage vs. tankless systems. Which version is better for you?

Honestly, it depends on your needs and how you hope to benefit from the system. Tankless systems rely upon a heating mechanism such as a tube or coils that instantly heats up the water as it passes through on the way to your faucet. This eliminates the need for storage tanks, as well as ensuring that you’ll never need to wait for your water to heat up. 

They tend to operate more efficiently than tanked heaters do, since there’s less ambient heat loss and you don’t need to spend as much energy keeping the water hot. That efficiency saves you money in monthly bills, as well as physical space, since tankless water heaters are much smaller than tank water heaters.

On the other hand, the up-front cost can be much more than a tanked water heater, and owing to the nature of the technology, you might need to install more than one unit depending on your hot water needs. They also struggle under a particularly large load, such as in home with large families or those that see a lot of heavy use. 

Tankless water heaters often do well in vacation homes or homes with only one or two family members, but can struggle in houses with high water use if they are not properly sized.

Please note that in 2015, a proposed new energy code may dramatically affect the water heating industry. The new water heaters will have to meet a new guideline for energy efficiency, which will change their size, and in most cases, their venting systems. 

It may be a good idea to contact a plumbing professional before the new laws come to place to see if it makes sense to have your water heating system updated before the change.

Accordingly, when weighing your water heater options – storage vs. tankless systems – it pays to have an expert on your side. Call a professional for water heater installation service, including storage and tankless models. 

About this Experts Contributor: Tyler Diciolla is the owner of Lifeline Plumbing, providing water heater service in Chicago. Since 2010, Lifeline Plumbing has specialized in pipe repair, clogged drains, sump pumps, water heaters, toilet repair and much more. You can follow this contributor on Twitter and on Google+.

As of June 19, 2014, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.


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