Tankless Water Heater Vs Traditional

Tankless Water Heater Vs Traditional

Tankless Water Heater

You may have heard about the benefits of tankless water heaters, but how different are they from traditional tank water heaters? By understanding how they compare, you can make an educated decision when the time comes to make a replacement.

Physical Size

The “size” of a water heater usually refers to the hot water output. What we’re comparing here are the physical dimensions of a storage tank vs. a tankless unit:

  • Tank: A traditional tank is a cylinder measuring about 5 feet tall with a diameter of 2 feet. This means the tank takes up about 15.7 square feet.
  • Tankless: They come in different dimensions, but tankless water heaters typically measure about 20 inches wide by 28 inches tall by 10 inches deep. This comes to 3.2 square feet of space.
  • Tankless is the winner: In condos and apartments where space is limited, tankless units are the clear winner. By converting to this option, you clear up space in the utility closet for extra storage that the old tank once commandeered.

Hot Water Supply

What good is a water heater if it can’t produce the hot water you need? See how hot water supply compares:

  • Tank: With a maximum flow rate of between 7.5 to 9.5 gallons per minute, you can probably take a shower and run the dishwasher at the same time without too much trouble. When the hot water is gone you will need to water for an hour or so for more.
  • Tankless: Flow rates average between 2.5 and 5 gallons per minute. It’s harder to push out a flow rate any higher than this when the tankless unit creates hot water on demand. What is important to consider is that this supply of hot water will last FOREVER.
  • Tank is the winner for the first hour, Tankless is the winner every hour after that: If multitasking is your thing, a tank is better equipped for the job. Of course, installing two tankless units counters this problem.

Energy Consumption

Perhaps the main reason you’re researching tankless water heaters is because of the potential for big energy savings, which equates to lower utility bills. Let’s run the numbers:

  • Tank: You’re used to a water heater that stores and preheats 30 to 50 gallons of water so it’s ready when you need it 24 hours a day. Water heating typically accounts for 18 percent of your total utility bills when a tank is doing the work.
  • Tankless: Water is heated on demand. There is no storage tank and therefore no standby heat loss to counter. If you consume 40 gallons of hot water or less every day, you could save 24 to 34 percent compared to a conventional tank.
  • Tankless is the winner: If energy savings is your goal, you’ll certainly find it by upgrading to a tankless water heater.

Purchase Cost

The price of the upgrade itself is a very important consideration:

  • Tank: A traditional tank water heater is a relatively affordable purchase, typically costing somewhere in the ballpark of $1,000 to $2,200 depending on fuel type, size and other features.
  • Tankless: Get ready to pay more for your tankless water heater. Negotiate installation cost up front.
  • Tank is the winner: When it comes to the upfront cost, there’s no arguing that the tank water heater wins.


How often can you expect to replace your tank or tankless water heater? Let’s find out:

  • Tank: Most storage tanks last no more than 10 to 15 years, and that’s assuming you maintain the water heater properly and take good care of it.
  • Tankless: Because it doesn’t work as hard and doesn’t hold water 24/7, tankless water heater units have a life expectancy of more than 20 years. That means, even though it costs more to purchase initially, the longer life and guaranteed energy savings every month help you recoup your investment over the unit’s lifespan.
  • Tankless is the winner: It’s hard to argue the twice-as-long life expectancy of tankless water heaters. It certainly makes up for the higher initial price!
    Want to know more? Just give us a call and our staff will be happy to talk about some of the other benefits of moving to a tankless water heater.