Once you have decided that the time has come for a new water heater, or maybe your old failing water heater made that decision for you, you still have a choice to make. Tankless or traditional?
Either one will probably offer you technology and energy efficiency that wasn't available when your last water heater was manufactured. This means that which ever you choose, you will most likely same money over the cost of running your old heater. However, each style water heater is not necessarily a perfect fit for everyone. To help you decide, we've put together a list of the advantages and disadvantages of each system.
The traditional tank style water heaters have been the tried and true standard for many years. In the advantage column, they will generally have a lower initial purchase cost, and can be easily repaired.
In the disadvantage column, they take up a lot of space and have a limited amount of hot water storage. You can also expect to replace your traditional water heater every 10 years or so, if you perform proper maintenance. During peak use, you may find yourself running out of hot water.
Among the advantages of a tankless water heater is the size. The are usually wall mounted and require a lot less space than a traditional style heater. The life cycle is typically double with a tankless system usually lasting 20 years or more. You'll also experience a savings on your energy bill because the heaters are more efficient when heating water, and don't store hot water when not in use.
The only real disadvantages to tankless water heaters are the higher initial cost for the unit, and the fact that you must have either natural gas or propane service.
Which ever water heater type you choose for your home make sure you use a licensed and insured plumbing company for installation and maintenance. Some manufactures provide a longer warranty if professionally installed.
There are also local and international building codes that must be complied with or safety issues may arise. A professional plumbing company will also be able to assist you in choosing the correct size heater for your home, and will probably be able to purchase the unit cheaper than a home owner.