Tank and tankless water heaters – what’s the difference? Does it matter which one you choose for your home? “As long as I receive hot water, does it really matter?”
The answer may surprise you!
While both perform the exact same job, the manner in which they do so is completely different. This has a huge impact on:
- Energy usage
- Space requirements
- Heating times
As such, one type of hot water system may be more appropriate for your home than another.
If you’ve been thinking of upgrading your hot water system in the near future, be sure to consult with our local Doncaster plumbers.
They’ll give you expert insight into whether you should go for a tank or a tankless water heater.
Tank vs tankless water heater: what’s the difference?
In case the name didn’t tip you off, one has a tank and the other doesn’t!
Tank water heater
Tank storage water heaters (“storage”) use a big storage tank full of water.
This water is maintained at a high temperature, guaranteeing you instant or near-instant hot water when you turn on the kitchen tap or jump in the shower.
Tankless water heater
By contrast, tankless (confusingly called “instantaneous” by some!) water heaters heat up water on demand.
It only heats the water you need. While you may have to wait a little bit for the water to heat up, this attribute means tankless hot water systems are much more compact.
It may sound like tankless heaters are new technology – they’re not. In fact, they’ve actually been around for a lot longer than you might expect.
Tank water heaters predate their tankless counterparts by only a handful of years, believe it or not.
Storage water heaters dominated the market not because of their head start, but because they used cheap natural gas instead of electricity.
Thanks to increased efficiency and a more budget-conscious public however, tankless heaters are seeing a bit of a renaissance.
In practical terms, what’s the difference between the two?
A couple of years ago, a modern tankless system would have cost significantly more than a traditional tank storage system.
Nowadays that’s not the case!
While tankless still tend to go for higher prices, the gap between the two types is actually much closer nowadays.
Of course, that’s not the only way your choice of hot water system can change how much you pay!
How each system impacts your energy and gas bills
This is where things start getting interesting.
Like we mentioned above, tank storage systems keep a reservoir of hot water on standby.
Maintaining that hot water at a high temperature takes up a lot of ongoing energy usage.
Even if you’re away from home, your tank storage system continues to use up power.
By contrast, a tankless system only heats up water as you use it. This makes them more efficient generally speaking, although energy-efficient tank storage systems do level the playing field somewhat.
In the end, it all comes down to your energy bills and how much you’re willing to pay (and wait) for hot water.
Curious to find out how your current hot water system stacks up? Use the official energy rating calculator to look up your model.
Wait times for hot water
One of the big draws of a tank storage system is that you’ll always have hot water on-hand.
That means minimal wait times and a near-instant stream of hot water.
By contrast, tankless systems generally take longer. You’ll need to wait while your tankless system kicks into gear and heats up the water you need.
But that’s not the only thing you’ll need to think about.
If you’ve ever lived with a tank storage water heater, you’ll know how it feels when the tank runs dry.
All of a sudden, your hot shower turns into an icy cold one. And then you’re left waiting for however long it takes for the tank to replenish.
With tankless systems, you can enjoy an endless supply of hot water. You can enjoy your hot shower for as long as you want. You won’t have to worry about other residents hogging all the hot water for themselves either.
It’s important to weigh up these factors depending on your hot water needs. If you live alone and don’t like waiting for the shower to warm up, tank storage may be the way to go.
Conversely, a large family may be better off with a tankless system.
If space is an issue, tankless may be the way to go.
That’s because tank water heaters occupy a considerable amount of space – space that not all homes have. Tankless water heaters on the other hand are suitable for use in homes that have limited space.
Think about how big your tank is going to be. Do you have anywhere to install it? Can you make space?
Even if you currently use a tank storage system, it pays to think about this anyway. For instance, the tank system you’re looking at could be considerably larger than your current one!
Both a tankless and tank storage system will last for 10 to 20 years on average – no need to worry on that front!
But while your hot water system’s life will hinge on how much you use it, as a general rule-of-thumb, tankless systems tend to last longer.
Why? Because there are fewer moving parts.
The storage tank in a tank system is a common point of failure, and are more susceptible to common hot water problems:
- The heating coils inside may wear out
- The walls of the tank could start rusting or flaking
- Your tank may even start leaking
By contrast, tankless hot water systems generally require much less ongoing maintenance: there are simply fewer parts to maintain, and fewer points of failure.
Still undecided between a tank or tankless water system?
Our Doncaster plumbers can help you make a decision!
We know it might sound like we’re against tank storage.
That’s not true at all – both are proven technologies and will do the job well.
The question is which one is better suited for your home specifically.
If you are thinking of upgrading or installing a hot water system in your home, let H2-Pro’s team of plumbers in Doncaster help.