Tank type and fuel type are the primary differences between water heater models. Gas-powered units have become as popular and common as electric-powered units. Gas units break down into either tanked gas or tankless gas, which each has its own unique pros and cons.
How do these two types of water heaters match up? Here are some factors that can help you make a buying decision. You can always ask your water heater repair and installation company for more customized advice and a price quote.
More Energy Efficient: Tankless
Tanked water heaters have a large cylindrical storage tank that fills completely with water that then becomes heated via the gas-fueled burner assembly. The water sits in the tank until you turn on a hot water faucet and use up some of the supply. The water you used is quickly replaced in the tank by incoming cold water, which is then heated by the burner assembly. The process means that you will have a full tank of hot water sitting there whether or not it is needed, which wastes gas being used to keep the water constantly hot.
The tankless water heater setup applies the gas-powered heat directly to the water moving through the lines. When you turn on a hot faucet, the water starts coming towards you through the lines and the heater warms it as it travels. This means you only get heated water right when you need it, which saves on gas fuel costs.
Better Output: Depends on Usage Needs
A tanked storage unit can provide quite a bit of hot water at one time, but the reheating process for incoming cold water is slower than the rate at which you are using the hot water. Tanked water heaters work best if you need small amounts of hot water at a time, especially if you need those amounts from a few different faucets or sources at once.
The tankless water heater doesn't involve the race against time because the water in your lines is being continuously heated. However, the water heater doesn't work on multiple faucets at once and, thus, might not be the best option if you have several showers or appliances running at once. The tankless heater works best for individual use or if you need to often refill a large bathtub or hot tub that could drain a tanked unit.
Cheaper Upfront Costs: Tanked
Tanked units have larger parts but also a simpler design that is easy to install. A tanked water heater tends to cost less upfront than a tankless unit. If upfront costs and budget are your primary concerns, stick with the tanked gas water heater.
A tankless water heater can prove cheaper over time, however, due to the improved energy efficiency and the lack of a tank that could wear down over time and require replacement.