Traditional water heaters have a large tank that holds heated water. When you turn on a hot water tap in your home, water flows out of the tank and through the pipes. Tankless water heaters don’t warm the water ahead of time. Rather, they heat it on the spot as needed. As you are shopping for a new water heater, you may wonder which of these two styles is better for your home.


Because a traditional water heater has hot water ready to go, it can usually supply several areas of your home at once. You may be able to take a shower and run the dishwasher at the same time. Eventually, the hot water in the tank will run out, and you’ll need to wait for the supply to come back up to temperature. Thankfully, though, as long as your water heater is properly sized for your home, that shouldn’t be a frequent occurrence.

Tankless water heaters, on the other hand, are limited by their gallons-per-minute output of hot water. If yours produces 3 gallons of hot water per minute, then you may have enough to supply only one tap at a time. Water heaters that heat 5 to 7 gallons each minute may be able to support one or two more demands. However, in homes that require a large amount of hot water at once, it may be necessary to install two hot water heaters.

Energy Efficiency

When it comes to efficiency, there’s no contest between traditional and tankless water heaters.

Traditional water heaters can lose a significant amount of heat energy through their tanks, especially if they are only lightly insulated. A lot of gas or electricity goes into keeping the stored water at the proper temperature. As a result, the efficiency of a traditional water heater is limited.

Tankless water heaters are considered quite efficient since they aren’t trying to maintain a set temperature. That can lead to noteworthy energy savings, especially in homes that don’t use very much hot water each day. In houses with a frequent demand for hot water, the difference in efficiency is typically less pronounced.

Floor Space

Traditional water heaters usually take up more space in a home. Their tanks are a few feet in diameter, and they stand several feet tall. These units rest on the floor and often need several inches of clearance all the way around them.

Tankless water heaters are noticeably smaller than those with large tanks. A tankless unit can be mounted on the wall, which can make it less obtrusive. That can be particularly helpful if you live in a small home with only a closet for the water heater.

Fuel Source

Both traditional and tankless water heaters use similar fuel sources. If you have gas, electrical, propane, or fuel oil lines currently running to your water heater, you can find a compatible traditional water heater. Most tankless water heaters run on gas, electricity, or propane.

Switching between fuel sources can be a labor-intensive project, so you’ll find it more affordable to continue with your current method of powering your water heater. In other words, if you have an oil-powered water heater, you’ll probably want to keep using a traditional water heater. With any of the other power sources, though, you may have more flexibility in which type of water heater to use.


Typically, traditional hot water heaters are the more affordable option. For starters, the units with tanks usually have a lower price point.

In addition, if you currently have a traditional water heater, it will certainly be cheaper to install a similar model. The hookups will be mostly the same, so the installation should be a relatively quick job.

Going from traditional to tankless is likely to cost you more. There are changes that will need to be made before you can connect a tankless water heater where there used to be a traditional one. That can increase the labor costs for your installation.

Whether you want a traditional water heater or a tankless one, contact Legacy Plumbing Experts in Port St. Lucie. Our plumbing company also works with drains and sewer lines. If you need plumbing work done for your home remodeling project, we can help with that, too. Our skilled plumbers take care of both residential and commercial properties. In business for more than half a century, we’re the area’s reliable plumbing team.

Schedule your Port St. Lucie plumbing appointment with Legacy Plumbing Experts today.

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