While the conventional, tank-based water heater has been popular in residential houses for decades, a new type of water heater is on the rise. These are called “tankless” heaters, and they’re focused on saving money, conserving energy, and delivering faster hot water. Let’s dig in deeper and look at what separates conventional and tankless heaters.
Conventional Water Heaters
Conventional water heaters use large tanks to store and heat water so that it is available at any time, which is why they are often called storage water heaters. The water in the tank is heated to a specific temperature, typically through a gas burner or heating element. Sensors detect when the water is the proper temperature (with some variation in settings), and the water heater holds that temperature throughout the day.
When you turn the hot water on, the water is siphoned from the top of the tank. Most tanks tend to have a capacity between 20 and 120 gallons, but only a portion of that is typically available as hot water.
This option has been a popular choice because it works. The tanks have enough room to store plenty of hot water, and that water is always available, particularly for larger projects (or long hot showers). However, there are also some downsides. If a family is too large for a hot water tank and has already cut back on water use, the only solution is to upgrade to a larger tank size. Also, remember that storage water heaters need to continually use energy to keep the water in the tank at a high temperature. Over time, that can waste a lot of energy heating water when no one is using it for showers or washing clothes. This is why tankless water heaters were developed.
Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters don’t have a tank, but what does this mean? Instead of storing water and keeping it at a constant temperature, they only bring in and heat up water when you turn on the faucet. This requires tankless heaters to heat up water quickly, which is why they tend to have large, powerful burners or heating elements, which often have additional requirements like powerful fans.
The advantage to this setup is that it saves a lot of energy since there’s not a lot of water waiting around being heated. Additionally, there’s no capacity to worry about; as long as the heater can heat up water fast enough, you don’t run out of hot water. Of course, the opposite is also true. If the tankless heater can’t heat fast enough, you will never have enough hot water until you buy a new system.
This means that it’s important to pick a tankless water heater with the right heating capabilities and flow rate for your home and family. Tankless heaters are also frequently used in unique setups, such as supplements for solar-heated water, individual heaters for hot tubs, and so on.
Need some finding the right type of water heater for your home? Remember, Crawford Mechanical can help with all your water heater needs: Repair, Replacement, and Installation!