To Tank or Not To Tank?

12/09/12 1:14 PM

To tank or not to tank: that is the question.

Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to store

The hot water that washing demands,

Or to heat it on demand…

Lately, you’ve probably heard a lot about tankless water heaters and how they use less energy.

Truth is, it takes one BTU (British Thermal Unit) to heat one pound of water 1 degree Fahrenheit.  That is true no matter what you’re using to make your bath water, even if that’s a huge copper pot in a fireplace.

Side note: there’s a theory that June became a popular month for weddings because, in the days before modern plumbing, most colonists took their annual baths in the spring.  Now, doesn’t that thought make you grateful you have a choice between types of water heaters?

The trick in choosing a water heater is to think of efficiency.  Pay attention to those yellow stickers on the side of units, which indicate how much or little energy the unit needs to change water from cold to hot.

Now, some say that the waste from a tank water heater results during long periods of the day when no one is using hot water at home.  If you’re single, no kids, and working overtime at the office, then water sitting in the tank cools until the system reheats it, probably more than once while you’re away, without much benefit to you.

If you’re married and someone stays at home with the kids, washing clothes and dishes, kids and pets and kids – those kids get dirty often – then your water doesn’t stay in the tank long enough to be reheated.  There is no “standby loss.”

You should consider other cost factors.  Tankless water heaters are usually more expensive to install because they require a plumber and an electrician.  Some gas-fired tankless water heaters even need a special ventilation system.

Tankless water heaters do have a longer life expectancy compared to tank water heaters, which is good, because you’ll need that time for the system to pay back savings.

In my experience as owner and operator of Classic Plumbing by Reno, I’ve found that both systems are good solutions for bringing you hot water.

I prefer tankless systems from State Industries or Takagi but every application is unique.  My best advice comes after I perform a qualified evaluation of your home.  Knowing what you need is going to tell both of us which system you want and then I can provide my experienced installation and maintenance know-how.

Call Classic Plumbing by Reno and I’ll answer that question for you, To tank or not to tank?

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