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Choosing Between Traditional and Tankless Water Heaters in Alexandria, VA

When cooking, washing your hands, doing dishes, or taking showers, you expect to have hot water instantly at your disposal. When it comes time to replace your water heater for your Alexandria, VA, home, you might have trouble choosing between traditional and tankless water heaters. Below we’ll discuss the similarities and differences between tankless and traditional water heaters.

Budget and Operational Cost

The cost of installation and of the unit itself are typically your main concerns. Another budgetary concern is the cost of operating the water heater.

A tankless water heater is typically more expensive to purchase than a traditional water heater. Installation of a tankless water heater usually costs about $2,000, while traditional water heater installation costs around $900.

While traditional water heaters are cheaper to purchase and install, they come with higher utility bills. This is because they heat water to a preset temperature and then maintain it at that temperature in a storage tank, which requires continuous use of energy.

Energy Efficiency

Tankless water heaters heat water on demand, making them much more energy efficient. states that tankless water heaters are 24% to 34% more energy-efficient than traditional water heaters in households that use 41 gallons or less of hot water per day.

Household Size

Household size is another factor to consider when choosing between a traditional water heater and a tankless water heater. If you’re a household of one, then both the traditional and tankless water heater will suit your needs. If you have a larger household, then multiple people need access to hot water at the same time.

Traditional water heaters store pre-heated water that’s available for everyone at the same time. However, once the supply of hot water has run out, everyone needs to wait until the storage tank refills and heats the water to the preset temperature.

Tankless water heaters produce hot water on demand. However, if there are too many people using hot water, tankless water heaters can have difficulties keeping up.

You can avoid this by choosing the right system for your home’s size and the number of people who reside there. You may need to install more than one tankless water heater.

For traditional water heaters, if there are one or two people in the home, then you need a 30 to 40-gallon tank. Two to three people require a 40 to 50-gallon tank, while three to four people require a water heater capable of producing 50 to 60 gallons. If there are five or more people in the household, they’ll need a water heater capable of producing 60 to 80 gallons.

Service Life

The life of a hot water heater is something you need to consider. Calling for regular maintenance and repairs for your water heater helps to reach the expected lifespan.

While not all water heaters use gas as fuel, maintenance helps those that do to maintain indoor air quality by preventing gas and carbon monoxide leaks. Traditional water heaters have an expected lifespan of 10 to 15 years, while tankless water heaters have an expected lifespan of 20 to 30 years with proper maintenance.

Size of Available Space

Another significant consideration to take into account is the amount of space you have for a water heater. If space is not an issue, you can go with either a traditional water heater or a tankless water heater.

A traditional water heater has a large storage tank that requires a certain amount of floor space that is dependent on its size. However, a tankless water heater has no such space requirements and is small enough to install on a wall. Even if you have the space for a traditional water heater, you might choose to go with a tankless water heater to save on space.

If you are looking to replace your water heater and are unsure whether you should choose a traditional or tankless water heater, we can help. Contact our knowledgeable technicians at Indoor Air Quality Medics Heating & Air Conditioning today to take care of your water heater needs.

Image provided by iStock

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