The good news about tankless water heaters is that they can cut your energy costs almost in half. The bad news is that they may not supply unlimited hot water. The difference between the two is the method in which they deliver hot water. Traditional hot water tanks heat water as soon as it enters the tank. The water is stored and kept hot.
When the water starts to cool, the water heater automatically heats the water back to the desired temperature. Traditional heaters run more often, so they consume more energy. Traditional hot water heaters range in size, but most homes use a 30 to 50-gallon tank.
Instead of storing hot water, tankless water heaters operate only on demand. Since they do not keep water at a consistent temperature, they use less energy. They save on space because they are smaller than traditional tanks. The initial cost for a tankless heater tends to be higher than for traditional tanks. Units are available in gas or electric.
There is no doubt that tankless will reduce energy costs substantially. The question becomes will a tankless water heater meet your needs. The ability to store hot water and heat it as soon as it enters the tank allows traditional heaters to provide an unlimited amount of hot water. You can turn on the dishwasher, throw in a load of laundry and tank bath at the same time.
Some tankless water heaters cannot supply enough hot water for multiple tasks. The size of your family and the number of household tasks that require hot water determines if a tankless heater is practical. If you have three kids and modern appliances, you will probably need a traditional tank for a consistent supply of hot water.
An elderly couple without kids may find that a tankless heater is sufficient. If you are unable to access your needs, a consultation with your plumber is the best strategy. Professionals can estimate your water usage based on your lifestyle. If you decide to go tankless, your existing piping will need to be checked to make sure it is compatible.