When you need a new water heater in your home, you need to choose between a traditional or tankless one. Both types of water heaters have benefits and drawbacks. This comparison will help you decide which is right for your home.

Traditional Water Heaters

Most homes have a traditional water heater. They typically hold between 30 and 50 gallons of water in an insulated tank. Incoming cold water is heated and stored at your desired temperature.

Emerging from the top of a traditional water heater is a pipe that delivers hot water to your home’s kitchen, bathrooms, and other sinks. This appliance heats water using either electricity, natural gas, or propane.

Tankless Water Heaters

A tankless water heater uses burners to heat cold water that goes through them. Unlike a traditional water heater, it doesn’t store any water. They, too, use natural gas, electricity, or propane to heat water.

When you create a demand for hot water, the tankless water heater immediately starts heating and delivering water through your home’s plumbing system. The water heater shuts down once there is no longer demand for hot water.

Which Type Is More Efficient?

A tankless water heater operates more efficiently than a traditional one because a traditional water heater has standby losses. The water in the tank cools over time and needs to be reheated. Since a tankless water heater doesn’t store water, there are no standby losses.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the typical homeowner will save up to 34% on their energy bills when using a tankless water heater over a traditional one. This works out to about saving $100 a year.

Longevity of a Water Heater

You can expect a traditional water heater to last somewhere between 10 and 12 years. A tankless water heater will usually last 20–30 years. If your home is in an area with hard water, both types of water heaters will probably last for a shorter time.

Installation Costs

Traditional water heaters cost less than tankless water heaters. This is especially true if you’re transitioning from a traditional water heater to a tankless one. Installing the tankless water heater will result in new plumbing needing to be installed. When replacing a traditional water heater with another one, the existing plumbing is usually adequate.

JC Energy Solutions is an HVAC company based in Oak Hills, CA. We install both traditional and tankless water heaters.


When you have a traditional water heater, you will have a supply of hot water equal to the capacity of its storage tank. You can easily run your washing machine, take a shower, and otherwise use hot water in different ways without worrying about running out. However, once the tank runs out of hot water, you will need to wait for the water to be heated again before you have more hot water.

With a tankless water heater, you can’t run out of hot water. It will continue producing hot water until the demand for it stops. However, tankless water heaters typically only produce two to three gallons of hot water per minute. This means you can’t run the dishwasher and take a shower at the same time because not enough hot water is produced for both at the same time.

Space Considerations

Traditional water heaters take up a significant amount of space because of the size of the tank. This might not be a problem if the appliance is in your basement or garage. However, it can be an issue if it needs to be installed in a closet.

By contrast, tankless water heaters are quite small. They are about the size of a suitcase. This makes them easy to have installed wherever suits you best.


Traditional water heaters are simpler appliances than tankless water heaters. This results in less costly maintenance and repairs. One thing to take into consideration is the cost of replacing its anode rod. By replacing this device when needed, the water heater will last longer.

Tankless water heaters are more complex than traditional ones. This makes them more costly to have repaired.

JC Energy Solutions also repairs, replaces, and tunes-up heaters and air conditioners. Popular options include air conditioners, furnaces, and heat pumps. Call today to find out more or to schedule an appointment.

JC Energy Solutions

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