Your plumber looks you in the eye and gives you the news you were hoping to avoid: your water heater needs to be replaced. At least you have options. He offers you a choice between a newer tankless model and an old-school, tank-style heater.
Also known as storage heaters and storage tank heaters, a tank-style water heater is what most of us have in our homes. The unit is 75% tank and 25% heating components and housing. The tank stores enough hot water to handle most residential needs with ease.
Salt City Plumbing, a local plumbing contractor in Salt Lake City, Utah, says a fair number of homeowners are opting for the tankless option. But they say there are still plenty of valid reasons for choosing a tank-style water heater instead. Five such reasons are listed below.
1. Lower Upfront Costs
Installing a tank-style water heater will generally cost you less up front. This is especially true if you are replacing a tank-style heater as well. Replacing one storage heater with another doesn’t require any major plumbing modifications. So really, you are paying for the cost of the new water heater plus a minimal amount of installation labor. Choose a tankless water heater and you will spend more for both the unit and the cost of actually installing it.
2. No Cold Water Sandwich
One of the often-ignored downsides of the tankless water heater is what is known as the ‘cold water sandwich’. This is a phenomenon in which you turn on the shower or a faucet, getting hot water instantly. But then you suddenly get a burst of cold water before going back to hot. While this post will not go into explaining why it happens, the hot water sandwich isn’t a problem with tank-style heaters.
3. Higher Water Flow Rate
A tank-style water heater is definitely what you want if you live in a busy household with heavy water needs. Why? Because a tank-style heater has a much higher water flow rate compared to a tankless heater. A typical family living in a house with a top-of-the-line tank-style heater can access hot water from multiple locations simultaneously. Two people can be showering at the same time, for example. Meanwhile, simultaneous water usage can put a lot of stress on a tankless heater to the point that it cannot keep up.
4. More Control Over Water Temperature
Another big advantage of the tank-style water heater is the amount of control you have over water temperature. For instance, it is nearly impossible to get lukewarm water from a system with a tankless heater. You just don’t have that ability to fine-tune the temperature.
With a tank-style heater, getting lukewarm water from the tap is as simple as reducing the hot water flow and increasing the cold. A tankless heater requires a certain amount of water flow to remain active. Turn down the hot water enough to get things lukewarm and you might get cold water instead.
5. Hot Water Without Power (Gas Units)
If you choose a gas-fired water heater, you will have hot water in the house even if the power goes out. A power failure will still be bad news if you have an electric water heater. As for tankless water heaters, they are regulated by an electronic control module – even if heat is produced by a gas burner. So in a power outage, you will not have hot water.
Tank-style water heaters are still a viable option for many households. There are a lot of good reasons for choosing one over a tankless water heater.