Conventional vs. Tankless Water Heaters – How Do I Choose?

When it comes time to choose a new water heater, there are many options available to you. Making a smart choice is important, because one dollar of every five you spend on home energy comes from heating the water you need for your faucets and appliances.

One of the main decisions you’ll have to make when it comes time to buy your water heater (besides how you’re going to power it) is whether to choose a conventional model (one with a storage tank) or a tankless water heater. Both have their pros and cons, as we’ll see.

The case for tankless water heater

A tankless water heater can be a great option, offering unlimited hot water and high efficiency in a small, compact form factor (we always recommend them for new construction – see below). The key advantages of a tankless water heater are:

  • Long-term energy savings – You can save 20 percent or more on your energy bills with a tankless water heater compared to conventional high efficiency propane water heater; the savings is even greater when compared to electric-fired models.
  • Placement flexibility – Tankless water heaters are about the size of a suitcase and can be mounted on walls, in crawlspaces – even in closets. They’re a great option for space-challenged homes.
  • Longer lifespan – On average, a tankless water heater will last nearly twice as long as a conventional water heater (18 years vs. 10).
  • Hot water on demand – Tankless water heaters instantly heat water on the fly, as it’s needed – which means that as long as water is flowing through your pipes, you’ll never run out of hot water. It also means you want have to pay to reheat water that’s been sitting in a storage tank in your cold basement, the way any conventional heater would.

Since it has no tank, the capacity of a tankless water heater is measured by how much water it can heat in a minute. You need to make sure your tankless model has enough capacity to meet your family’s demands for hot water. Our experts can help you do that, then install it the right place, the right way.

Are conventional water heaters ever the right choice?

While they won’t offer the same benefits as tankless water heaters, conventional water heaters can be a great choice for your home, especially:

  • If cost is an issue (tankless water heaters can cost twice as much as conventional water heaters)
  • If you’re single or a couple that don’t use large amounts of water and are replacing a standard gas tank heater
  • If you plan to move in the next few years

The bottom line

Summing up:

  • For new construction, or for larger families and efficiency-conscious / space-challenged homeowners, tankless heaters are the best choice.
  • If you’re a young couple just starting out, if money is tight, or if a move is on the short-term horizon, a conventional water heater might be the better move.

Whatever choice you make, go for the highest efficiency model you can afford – and be sure to get a professional to help you size and install your water heater for years of trouble-free service.

Ready for a water heater upgrade for your Maryland home? We can help. Contact us today for a FREE, no obligation estimate – and don’t forget to ask us about specials and incentives that can save you money on your new investment!

For everything you need in home heating, trust the pros at Carroll Home Services – keeping Maryland homes warm for more than a century! Contact us to get started today!