Facebook Pixel

Choosing the Right Water Heater: Tank v. Tankless

Two people at the laptop looking involved and discussing water heaters

At Smith & Keene, we understand the importance of selecting the right water heater for your home. Whether you’re considering upgrading to a tankless system or sticking with a traditional tank water heater, we’re here to provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision.

Understanding Your Options

Tank-Model Water Heater

Tank Water Heaters

Traditional tank water heaters store and preheat a certain amount of water in a tank, ready to be used when needed. These systems are available in various sizes to accommodate different household needs.

Tankless water heater in garage | Switching To A Tankless Water Heater

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters, also known as on-demand water heaters, heat water only when it’s needed. These systems do not store hot water, providing a continuous supply of hot water as long as there is demand.

Pros and Cons: Comparing Tank v Tankless Water Heaters

When it comes to choosing a water heater for your home, understanding the differences between tank water heaters and tankless water heaters is crucial. Each type has its own set of advantages and considerations, ranging from energy efficiency and cost to lifespan and space requirements.

To help you make an informed decision, we’ve compiled a comparison between tank water heaters and tankless water heaters, highlighting key factors such as energy efficiency, cost, lifespan, space requirements, and hot water supply. Explore the table below to learn more about which option may best suit your household’s needs.

Factors Tank Water Heaters Tankless Water Heaters
What is the most energy-efficient water heater? Tank water heaters tend to have higher energy consumption because they keep water heated continuously, leading to standby heat loss. Tankless water heaters are more energy-efficient because they only heat water when it’s needed, which reduces energy consumption and utility bills. Energy.gov estimates they’re about 24–34% more energy-efficient than tank water heaters.
How much does a water heater cost? Tank water heaters generally have a lower upfront cost and are easier to install since they’re commonly found in homes. Tankless water heaters usually have a higher upfront cost and may require more complex installation, especially when retrofitting existing homes.
How long does a water heater typically last? Tank water heaters typically last around 10-15 years, although this can vary depending on the water hardness in your area. Tankless water heaters tend to have a longer lifespan, lasting 5–10 years longer than tank water heaters. This is because they don’t store water, which can lead to corrosion over time.
What are the space requirements for a water heater? Tank water heaters have a larger physical footprint, so they need more space for installation. Tankless water heaters are designed to save space with their compact size and the option for wall-mounted installation, making them a space-saving choice.
Which water heater provides a continuous supply of hot water? Tank water heaters provide hot water continuously, but they may struggle to keep up during periods of high demand, as standby water may run out. Tankless water heaters offer a continuous supply of hot water, although they may have limitations in meeting simultaneous high hot water demands in larger households due to flow rate constraints.
Honeywell Generator Automatic Transfer Switch

Choosing the Right Water Heater for Your Home

When deciding between a tank and tankless water heater, it’s essential to consider factors such as your household’s hot water usage patterns, available space for installation, upfront budget, and long-term energy savings goals.

At Smith & Keene, our experienced team is here to assist you in evaluating your options and choosing the right water heater that best suits your needs and budget. Whether you’re leaning towards the efficiency of a tankless system or prefer the familiarity of a tank water heater, we’ll provide you with expert guidance and professional installation services.

What Size Water Heater Do I Need?

Calculating What Size Tankless Water Heater You Need

Tankless water heaters don’t store water; they’re sized based on a gallons-per-minute (GPM) rating, which measures how much hot water they can deliver to your home. The higher the GPM, the more hot water the water heater can deliver.

To calculate what size tankless water heater you need, you’ll need to figure out the water flow rate of appliances and fixtures you plan to use at any given time.

For example, if you plan to run the following appliances/fixtures at the same time:

  • Shower: 2.5–5 GPM
  • Faucet: 2–3 GPM
  • Dishwasher: 1–2.5 GPM
  • Washing machine: 1–3 GPM

Add all of those GPM rates together, which means you’d need a tankless water heater with a GPM between 6.5 and 13.5.

The exact flow rate you’ll need depends on the type of fixtures you have and the efficiency of your appliances. Higher-efficiency appliances and water-saving fixtures will have lower GPM rates.

Calculating Tank Water Heater Size

On the other hand, tank water heaters are sized based on the tank’s storage capacity, typically measured in gallons. The size you need depends on your household’s hot water usage patterns, including the number of people in your household, their hot water usage habits, and the peak demand for hot water.

For example, a standard recommendation is to multiply the number of people in your household by 15 gallons to determine the minimum tank size needed. However, this can vary based on factors such as the size of your home, the number of bathrooms, and the appliances using hot water.

It’s important to note that tank water heaters constantly keep water hot in the tank, so the size you choose will determine how much hot water is available at any given time. If your household uses a lot of hot water simultaneously, you may need a larger tank to ensure an adequate supply.

Electric & Natural Gas Hot Water Heaters

Keep the water hot for the whole family! IT'S TIME to get a new Water Heater from Smith & Keene.

GE Electric Hot Water Heater

Starting at $1,100 Installed


Natural Gas Hot Water Heater

Starting at $1,400 Installed

Limited time offer. Up to 50 Gallons on standard hot water heaters. Offer subject to change. Call for pricing and details.

Rinnai Tankless Water Heater

Enjoy cost savings & hot water any time you need it! IT'S TIME to get a new Rinnai Natural Gas Tankless Hot Water Heater from Smith & Keene.

Starting At $4,470 Installed

Limited time offer. Offer subject to change. Call for pricing and details.

Explore Your Hot Water Heater Options with Smith & Keene

Ready to upgrade your water heater or still unsure about the best choice for your home? Contact Smith & Keene today to schedule a consultation with our knowledgeable team. We’ll help you weigh the pros and cons of tank and tankless water heaters and find the perfect solution for your household’s hot water needs.

Make the right choice for your home’s comfort and energy efficiency. Schedule your appointment with Smith & Keene today!

You may also like…

Share this blog