Should I Buy a Regular Water Heater or a Tankless Water Heater?


There’s a new energy efficient option that is gaining popularity in San Antonio Texas, and that’s switching to a new tankless water heater instead of the traditional water heater tank. First off, the drop in your electric bill each month will be noticeable immediately. Tankless water heater units are literally flying off the shelves here at Caliente Plumbing Heating & Air.

What are the differences between a traditional tank water heater and a tankless water heater system?

A traditional water heater will both store, and heat, a large volume of water enabling hot water to be available as needed. The average traditional water heater in San Antonio Texas holds between 40 and 50 gallons of water. This is a LOT of water to heat up and KEEP hot. Traditional water heaters use an electrical heating element or natural gas burner system. While this has been the standard for decades, new technology has brought to light that traditional units aren’t very efficient while they continue to heat the stored water regardless of the rate of usage. This includes times when a home owner is not at their house.

Tankless water heaters are much more modern and efficient because they supply “on-demand” water heating, which allows for water to be heated and distributed as you use it, as opposed to storing 40-50 gallons of water that needs to be KEPT hot. Tankless on-demand water heating eliminates the need to waste water by running the tap until the water warms up saving you both time and money. Tankless units require far less physical space for installation and may be installed in locations not possible with traditional hot water heaters. Tankless water heaters have longer overall lifespans compared to traditional units saving in replacement costs in most cases however with the hard water conditions in Texas, we might recommend a water softener to go with your tankless water heater to ensure a long lasting life!

What are the differences Between Gas and Electric Tankless Water Heaters?

How do you choose the correct tankless water heater for your new home: Gas and Electric Models are quite different…

Tankless water heaters come in various sizes and overall output capacity. There are smaller point-of-use units that may be utilized to heat water for just one sink, to full size units that can supply hot water to your entire home, tankless water heaters are capable of meeting all of your family’s needs. You’ll need to choose from an electric or natural gas model IF your home already has natural gas service. We have found that most home owners prefer natural gas models because they can usually supply larger quantities of hot water in a more efficient and cost effective manner. They are also more stable temperature-wise while taking a hot shower as well!

Pros and Cons of Natural Gas Tankless Water Heaters:

Pros: Can supply more hot water immediately compared to electric. Natural Gas tankless water heaters are more cost efficient to operate overall compared to electric.

Cons: Gas lines are not available at all homes.

Pros and Cons of Electric Tankless Water Heaters:

Pros: Electric lines are easy to run than new gas lines. They are easy to install for smaller “single sink” installations. No venting system required compared to gas models.

Cons: Electric tankless water heaters have less overall hot water output compared to gas so larger unit may need to be installed to meet the demands of your family. Electric tankless water heaters are not as cost efficient as gas units. Additional electrical fuses and lines may need to be installed into the home depending on size of model you choose.

How do I choose the correct size tankless water heater?

Choosing the correct size of tankless water heater can be tricky. Here are a few pointers to help you out.

Gallons per minute: How many faucets are within your home may require hot water at the same time? A single occupant home will require far less hot water than a full size family where it will take a larger unit to meet hot water demand. It is best to error on the side of too much hot water capacity compared to not enough as a rule.

Example: Two hot showers happening at the same time while a dishwasher runs in the kitchen and the washing machine is cranking away! Each of the four hot water sources in this example will require a specific “gallons per minute” output flow to simultaneously provide hot water to all of these areas. In this case, you’d need to install a tankless water heater that has the capacity of meeting the gallons per minute output needed. The GPM rate is listed within the specifications of each tankless unit, allowing you to properly select the correct capacity size for your household’s individual needs. A Caliente Plumbing pro can help you choose the correct size quite easily – they’re trained specifically for that!

If your water heater is giving you the cold shoulder, we’d like to suggest getting a free estimate from the plumbing pros at Caliente Plumbing Heating & Air. We can give you options on replacing your traditional water heater or switching over to a tankless water heater. Call us today!

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