Tankless/On-Demand vs. Traditional Water Heaters: Which One is Right for You?

December 28, 2018
Tankless vs. Traditional Water Heaters

Tankless/On-Demand vs. Traditional Water Heaters: Which One is Right for You?

We at John Sadler Plumbing & Heating have been proudly helping the Lower Mainland area with our plumbingheating, cooling, and gas fitting services for over forty years. The most common question that typically arises is which kind of water heater is right for a home. The answer to that question depends on the home and its needs. When it comes to choosing between a tankless water heater and a traditional system, there are a few differences between them that you should consider before purchasing.

Storage Style Hot Water Heaters

With a storage style water heater, the water is pre-heated. Water is delivered to that tap relatively fast because of this, but there is wasted heat as well. The main disadvantage is that hot water supply is limited to the storage capacity, and it can run out if you need a lot of it at any given time. If all the residents in your home for instance take a hot shower in the morning then the water supply can be used up quickly before it’s replaced in the tank. This is the biggest complaint that we get when it comes to storage style heaters. If you have an electric hot water tank, which is more common in newer homes now, they are very slow to re-heat as well as very expensive to operate. Typically, if there are only 2 people living in the home, the natural gas storage style water heater may be a good option. Currently standard industry warranty is 6 years on leakage, 6 years on parts. There are extended warranties available on leakage up to 10 years. Traditional storage style water heaters operate at a range of 63 to 67% efficiency depending on the model. For every dollar used to heat the hot water, 33-37 cents is wasted.

Tankless/On Demand Water Heaters

Tankless heaters can theoretically provide hot water indefinitely. Currently the largest models when factoring in the incoming water temperature in the lower mainland will provide up to 4.5 gallons per minute (gpm) continuously. To give you an example of the typical usage of fixtures, modern faucets use about 1.5 gpm, typical showerheads use 2.0 gpm. You can have two showers running all day and night if desired. If you have a home with several rental suites and more than 5-6 adults in the home then it would be possible if everyone is showering at the same time to have a limited hot water supply. Even with these numbers though, a traditional storage tank would have a tough time keeping up. With tankless heaters there is also a small delay in the time taken for the hot water to reach the tap once you turn it on, usually 10-15 seconds. This is because the water is heated as used, rather than being heated and stored. Newer models have a built in, insulated 3 gallon buffer tank that can be set to stay warm. This speeds up the time it takes for the water to reach its destination. With tankless heaters, the more people you have in the home, the more you will save on hot water usage, and the faster the payback will be on a tankless water heater. Tankless water heaters such as the Navien, operate at 98-99% efficiency which means for every dollar you spend on heating hot water only 1-2 cents is wasted.

At John Sadler Plumbing & Heating, we offer home plumbing, heating and cooling solutions to everyone in the Lower Mainland Area. If you want more details about tankless water heaters or traditional water heaters and how they can improve your home, our qualified technicians are ready to help you. They will find the water heating solution that’s right for you.
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John Sadler Plumbing & Heating

Service Area

  • Surrey

  • North Delta

  • Cloverdale

  • Ocean Park

  • Panorama Ridge

  • Fleetwood

  • Whalley

  • Fort Langley

  • Brookswood

  • Murrayville


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