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Why Go Tankless? Choosing a Water Heater

When you need reliable hot water, you have two general types of water heaters to choose from: tank models or tankless. The best selection will depend on several variables specific to your household’s hot water needs. While tank and tankless water heaters may serve the same purpose, they each operate a little differently to provide your family with the water it needs.

Tank or Conventional Water Heaters

Tank water heaters are what most homeowners are familiar with. This is also referred to as a conventional or traditional water heater. This is the standard used in homes for decades. The tank model heats water and stores it in the tank for use when it is needed. These come in different sizes ranging from 30 gallons to 50.


With the tank water heater, energy is being used constantly. Water is kept at a desired temperature at all times so that it is ready to use for your dishwasher, taps and shower heads. Once you through the water in the tank, the water heater will need to replenish its supply before additional water is available.


If you’ve ever been the last one in your family to hop in the shower, you’re familiar with this problem! There isn’t always enough left! Tank water heaters also require some space for installation as they aren’t exactly a small appliance!


Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless, on the other hand, are a newer heating technology that is more energy efficient. Tankless water heaters do not heat water ahead of time and hold it in reserve, which allows them to have a much smaller footprint requiring less space for installation. The tankless unit heats water right when your shower, sink or dishwasher calls for it. As soon as the tap turns on, the water heater heats the water to your desired temperature and sends it to the desired location. It only uses energy when hot water is actually needed.

A tankless water heater costs more to install than the traditional water heater. A conventional unit runs around $1,000, while a tankless unit can cost a few thousand for the equipment alone. Gas units also cost more than electric, regardless of whether you choose the conventional or tankless version.


When you’re changing out a tank model for a tankless, our plumbers will need to retrofit your unit, which requires working with your piping and gas lines. This is a more involved process upfront. However, many homeowners choose this version because of the energy savings. Over time, the savings generated will pay you back for your initial investment.

Your water heater is the third highest energy consumer in the home. So you can save up to $100 per year on costs and 34% on energy!


Hot Water Usage

Keep in mind, however, that the tank system does have other advantages. At the peak of importance for your family is hot water availability. A tank water heater has a reserve meaning that all the hot water is available to use all at once. The drawback is that when your traditional model runs out of hot water, it's out until it has time to replenish it's supply which can take awhile.


A tankless water heater can provide hot water at any time to any location and never “runs out”. BUT when multiple hot water demands run at the same time – two people taking a shower, running your shower while the dishwasher is running – the tankless system struggles to keep up. If your household regularly runs more than one hot water application at a time, a conventional unit may be better for your comfort. If you rarely have more than one in use, a tankless water heater will keep you comfortable for years to come!


Let City Air Mechanical keep your hot water running, whatever model you choose! We have the equipment you need, and our licensed plumbers are available to deliver reliable hot water to your Bismarck or Dickinson home when you need it.

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