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Tank vs. Tankless Water Heaters: Which Should I Buy?

According to the National Association of Homebuilders, if your tank water heater is around 10 years old, it’s just about ready to retire. The question you may have is whether you should replace it with the same type of water heater or switch to a tankless model. Tankless water heaters have a reputation for being long-lasting and energy-efficient, but are they the best fit for your hot water needs?


When trying to decide between a tank and tankless water heater, here are some factors you’ll want to consider.

1. Cost: Tankless water heaters cost more to purchase than a tank water heater.

You might experience a little sticker shock when comparing the price tag of a tankless water heater to a traditional, tank-type model. Because they are more compact, longer-lasting, and typically more energy-efficient, tankless models do come with a higher price tag. That being said, tankless water heaters can make up for that initial price difference with their long lifespan and efficiency.

2. Lifespan: Tankless water heaters last much longer than tank water heaters.

While the average lifespan of a tank water heater is 10 years, tankless water heaters typically last more than 20 years. Tank water heaters will also perform less and less efficiently toward the end of their lifespan due to problems like sediment buildup. A tankless water heater not only lasts longer but provides you more years of energy-efficient service throughout its lifespan. They also have a lower risk of developing catastrophic leaks that end up flooding your home.

3. Efficiency: Tankless water heaters typically save more energy than tank water heaters.

Tank water heaters and tankless water heaters function in fundamentally different ways.

  • A tank water heater stores water in a tank and continuously heats that water so that it’s ready for you whenever you need it.
  • A tankless water heater only heats water “on demand,” like when you turn on a hot water tap or when an appliance requires hot water.

You don’t need hot water every moment of the day, so in that regard, a tank water heater spends a lot of energy keeping water hot and ready on standby when you don’t really need it to. Because tankless water heaters warm up the water right when you need it, they’re able to reduce wasted energy and result in lower gas or electric bills.

4. Capacity: A single tankless water heater can struggle to provide hot water to multiple sources at once.

If you own a tank water heater, its capacity is essentially however much hot water its storage tank can hold. With tankless water heaters, it’s important to look at the flow rate or gallons per minute (GPM) it can provide.

If you plan on running your dishwasher and washing machine with warm water at the same time someone takes a shower, the flow rate of one tankless water heater might not be able to meet those demands. In that scenario, you may want to install one tankless water heater dedicated to your appliances and another one dedicated to your faucets. Alternately, you might decide that a tank water heater with a large storage tank is the best option.

Don’t Shop for a Water Heater Without an Expert

No matter what type of water heater you’re looking for, working with an expert is essential to find a model that can meet your household’s needs. On the one hand, you don’t want to overpay for something with more capacity than you require. Even more importantly, you don’t want to end up with a model that struggles to give you enough hot water!

At JSP Home Services, our Kingston plumbers have the training and expertise to match you with a quality water heater for your home. Contact us online today or give us a call at (845) 209-1700 , and don’t forget to ask us about our financing options!


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