Tank vs Tankless Water Heaters

Water heaters are an essential element in every home. We rely on water heaters to heat our water for almost every water function – cooking, cleaning, bathing, showering, laundry, etc. For years, the traditional standing tank water heater was the primary type of water heater.

In more recent years, tankless water heaters have become very prominent as a good water heater option. So the question is, which type of water heater should you get in your home? Go with the traditional water heater or change to a tankless water heater?

Differences Between Tank vs Tankless Water Heaters

Traditional and tankless water heaters perform the same function – heating your water. However, they perform the function differently, each having its own positive and negative attributes.

Let’s break it down by each type of water heater.

Traditional Water Heaters

Traditional water heaters can be operated through either electricity or gas power. The conventional water heater is designed with a holding tank. The tank is filled with water, which is heated and stored in the tank.

Hot water comes already heated from the tank, and the tank then refills and heats as the water is used. You can adjust the temperature of the water in the tank, and the tank becomes pressurized to prevent it from exploding. The pressure relief valve is a safety feature that helps protect you and your home.

If you have a traditional water heater, it’s important to understand how it works and how to maintain it. This will help ensure that your unit lasts for as long as possible and continues to operate safely and efficiently.

A traditional water heater consists of a storage tank, an insulated outer shell, a heating element, a thermostat, a pressure-relief valve, and a cold water inlet. The storage tank is where the hot water is stored until needed. It’s typically made of steel with a porcelain enamel coating to help prevent corrosion. The tank is also insulated to help keep the water hot.

The heating element is what heats the water. It’s typically made of metal and is located near the bottom of the tank. The thermostat monitors the water temperature and turns the heating element on or off to maintain the desired water temperature.

The pressure-relief valve is a safety feature that helps prevent the tank from exploding. It’s located on the top of the tank and releases water if the pressure inside the tank gets too high.

The cold water inlet is located near the bottom of the tank and is where cold water enters the tank to be heated.

Traditional tanks can hold anywhere from 20-80 gallons of water. So you can run out of hot water and wait for it to replenish and reheat. However, the water in the tank remains constantly heated through its power source, which means it is continually using power. The biggest con to traditional tank water heaters is they can rust or corrode and leak water everywhere.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters heat water on an as-needed basis rather than storing large sums of water. When hot water is called for from your water source or faucet, it runs directly through the tankless heater to be heated as it travels to the faucet.

Once the desired temperature is reached, the tankless water heater will maintain that temperature until the demand for hot water ceases. Because tankless water heaters only heat water when needed, they are much more energy efficient than their storage tank counterparts. This can lead to significant savings on your energy bill each month.

Tankless water heaters are available in both electric and gas-powered models. Gas-powered models tend to be more expensive up front, but they also have a higher capacity and can heat water faster than electric models.

This means that when you’re using hot water, you won’t run out of hot water, and you don’t have to wait for a tank to refill and heat. Instead, you can maintain a constant flow of hot water. You can install multiple water heaters if necessary with a tankless water heater system.

Tankless water heaters can often be more energy-efficient because they are not using constant power to heat or keep stored water heated. Instead, they use power only when you need hot water. However, tankless water heaters are more expensive to purchase and install initially. Tankless heaters also tend to last longer than traditional water heaters.


The type of water heater you use depends on your preferences and budget. Both types have their pros and cons. The biggest challenge to a tankless water heater is installation location and potential plumbing and electrical work for installation.

As you determine which will work best for you, consider your uses, your ability to invest money and space, and what you specifically want to achieve with your water heater.



ECM Air Conditioning, with its headquarters located in Boynton Beach, FL, provides air conditioning services within Palm Beach County, Broward County, Martin County, and St. Lucie County. If you’re looking to have a new HVAC system installed, we’re on-call and ready to assist you. So if you’re in need of an HVAC installation, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule an inspection! Our HVAC installation experts will check your ductwork, measure, check wire sizes, and more before making recommendations to ensure maximum efficiency and comfort. Call us at 561-295-1763 or contact our HVAC installation team online by clicking here.


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