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Tankless vs. Tank Water Heaters – Should I go Tankless?

Water Heaters

Fix It All-Plumbing (Nashville TN)

I am going to try to tell you a little bit about the different between the two types of water heaters. I will compare gas (or LP) tank and tankless water heaters. The whole house electric tankless models are not very efficient and I don’t recommend anyone getting one.

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Differences between Tankless and Tank Hot Water Heaters

One of the biggest different between the two heaters is the amount of gas the unit requires. If you have a tank gas water heater, it is burning gas right now, the pilot is always burning. At 2:00 a.m. when you are in bed asleep and no one is using any water in your house, and the water temp drops, the water heater will fire up to get the water back up to temperature. This allows you to have the hot water you need when you first get up.

A tankless water heater will not use any gas until the water starts to move through the unit. It does not have a storage tank so the water does not have to stay up to temperature. This is an on demand type of system. It will give you continuous hot water. I have been told by a good customer, that his gas bill was cut more than half during the summer months.

What it takes to go Tankless

So, yes, tankless units can save on your utility bills. Now this does not mean you can just take out your old tank heater and put in a new tankless. A few things are required. First a tankless requires a 110 plug at the unit to operate the thermostat and pilot. The gas pipe is bigger from a tank to tankless. Your tank water heater has a ½ inch feed where the tankless requires ¾ feed. The vent will not match up either. Every brand of tankless water heater has its on venting system. Some models will use P.V.C., but this requires two vents, one for intake and the other for exhaust.

Are Tankless Hot Water Heaters always Cost-Effective

It is not cost efficient for every house to have a tankless water heater. I have looked at some houses that I just could not recommend putting in a tankless unit. If you just have two people in your house and you never run out of hot water, a tankless hot water heater may not be ideal. The cost of a tankless plus the installation is very different than just replacing your tank water heater.

Have questions about hot water heaters? Submit an inquiry or you can give us a call at Fix It All-Plumbing and we will help you figure out if a tankless unit is a cost efficient way for you to go. 615-568-5051

When Tankless makes sense: New Home Construction & Low Hot Water Supply

I will say if you are going to build a new house I would go with a tankless unit without any doubt. It will add to the resell value of your home. Also, if you run out of hot water all the time or can’t get that big tub full of hot water a tankless would be great for your home.

As I said before a tankless is continuous hot water it will take the same amount of time for the hot water to get to your shower, but once it arrives, you will not run out. You could set the temperature at 120 degrees and it will stay up to temp as long as the water is running. You never run out of hot water. If you have a circulating pump you will need a small tanked electric water heater for the pump.

Once again you can call us at Fix It All-Plumbing for all of your water heater needs tank, tankless, gas , or electric.


Blog by Kevin Sipes,
Master Plumber
Nashville, TN