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What is the difference between tank and tankless water heaters?

Traditional? Or Tankless?


Water Heater InstallationWhen you are posed with the question, “Are you interested in a Traditional or Tankless water heater?” Don’t worry, the answer may be easier than you think. The differences between the two are quite simple, on the surface. A traditional water heater uses a large insulated tank to store your hot water. Heating that tank is either an electrical heater, called an element, that goes directly into the water to heat it up, or a gas burner heating the tank from the bottom.

The tankless system, otherwise known as an on-demand system uses a heating element placed inline with your water supply. The traditional water heater will store forty to seventy gallons (or more) depending on the size of the home or office building. This water will be held at the desired temperature, waiting to be used. The downfall to this system is, even when you do not need hot water, like while sleeping or away on vacation, the water heater is there, doing it’s job, using energy to heat water. If this is a concern to you, then maybe you should consider a tankless water heater. This unit will sit on a cold water line, idle waiting for a demand to call it into action. Once it senses water flowing through it, the heating element instantly heats the passing water to the desired temperature.

With this scenario, you are only using energy (gas or electricity) when the water is flowing. The tankless water heater is also well suited for hot water applications that are significantly farther away from the hot water source. If a sink is to be installed that would require one hundred feet of piping from the water heater, that is quite a lot of wasted hot water to make the tap warm. In this scenario, a point of use tankless heater may fit the bill. This is the same as the whole home style, just scaled down for use at a single location.

Both styles have their place. It comes down to design, installation, costs and the experience of a good plumber to determine which alternative would work the best for your situation.

Looking into different water heaters for your Burlingame property? Call James Caccia today at (650) 376-6800 for a water heater installation! 

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