Tank Water Heater vs Tankless, What’s the difference?

Hot water is an indispensable component in any home. Many households use hot

water for taking a shower, laundry, and washing dishes. Therefore, if you are thinking

about installing a water heater, you will be faced with the option of a tank versus a

tankless water heater. Here are some differences between the two types of water

heaters to make your decision easier.


One of the major differences between a tank and a tankless water heater is

convenience. A tank water heater heats water and reserves it in a tank. The insulated

water tank ensures the water stays hot. However, if several people are using hot

water at the same time, you may run out. As a result, cold water will come out of the

taps until the water tank can heat more water.

A tankless water heater consists of burners that heat water. The water goes through

a heat exchanger and to your appliances whenever you want hot water. The burners

heat water on demand instead of storing hot water in a tank until you need it. This

means you should never run out of hot water.

Gallons of Water Consumption

Tankless water heaters are more energy-efficient than tank water heaters for

households that consume less than 41 gallons of hot water daily. These heaters are

small and do not occupy a large space in your house. Installation consists of

mounting them on walls where, then they vent the exhaust through the side wall or

roof depending on the installation. A tankless water heater supplies hot water at 2-5 gallons per minute. A tankless water heater can either run on gas or electricity. Gas-powered tankless heaters give a higher rate of water per minute than electric ones. However, tankless water heaters cannot provide sufficient hot water for multiple uses in a big household that exceeds 41 gallons of water. For example, running your shower and dishwasher

simultaneously can overwork your tankless water heater unless properly sized for the

home, which may incur additional cost of installation adjustments.

On the other hand, a tank water heater can hold up to 80 gallons of hot water in a

storage tank. Therefore, they are suited for large households. One downside is that

these tanks are large and take up a significant amount of space. Moreover, if you

deplete the hot water in the tank, you have to wait until the heater heats more water.

Cost Comparison

Another difference between a tank and a tankless water heater is cost. Tankless

water heaters are more costly than tank heaters. According to Forbes, the average

cost of a tankless water heater is between $4,000 to $7,000. However, a tank water

heater costs between $2000 to $3,000. Installations cost also vary. For example, if you want to switch from a tank to a tankless water heater, you will possibly have to pay extra for plumbing and wiring changes. For instance, you need to remove sediment from the tank heater once a year. This will cost you approximately $200. Since a tankless water heater lasts up to 20 years, twice the amount of time a tank water heater lasts, it is a cost-effective option. However, a tank water heater may be the best option if you are on a tight budget and need a water heater urgently.

What Home Inspectors Look for In Water Heaters

A home inspection also includes checking the condition of your water heater. With a

tank water heater, a home inspection evaluates how soon you are running out of hot

water without increasing consumption. Other concerns include strange noises, leaks

from the tank, and whether the water is rust-colored.

When inspecting a tankless water heater, we will evaluate hot water delivery, error

codes, proper installation, proper venting & exhaust, correct location etc.

Wrapping It Up

The choice between a tank and a tankless water heater will depend on your specific

needs. A study by Energy.gov established that tankless water heaters could result in

energy savings of up to $100 annually. Therefore, if you can manage to pay for the

high installation costs, you will get a return on your investment in the long run.

A tankless water heater is ideal if you need hot water on demand, but if you are on a

limited income, you should opt for a tank water heater. This is also a great option for

large households. During your home inspection we always provide you with a detail

report of our findings, pictures, and areas of concern. Give us a call when you are

ready to schedule. 951.351.1855

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