Back to Blog

The Efficiency of a Tankless vs. Traditional Water Heater

Written By: Warm Thoughts Communications on February 23, 2022

What’s the Best Choice for Your Home?

water heater buying guideThere are steps you can take to get increased efficiency out of your traditional model water heater—otherwise known as a “tank” style water heater—but if you really want to up the ante on water heater efficiency, you will want to consider the pros and cons of a tankless water heater.

Read on to learn more about how both types of water heaters work, and why a tankless water heater typically has a higher efficiency rating throughout the Northeast United States.

The Difference Between Tanked and Tankless

It’s important to understand the difference between how tankless and traditional water heaters work before we get into discussing their merits. You’re probably familiar with traditional water heaters, since that’s what most people had in their household growing up. The water is heated continuously by a pilot light and stored in a large tank, tucked away in the basement, or a closet in the home.

A tankless water heater operates—wait for it—without a tank! The system heats the water on-demand, so there’s no need to store the water in a pre-heated condition. The cold water is heated rapidly, right when you use or need it.

The Advantages of Tankless Units

Traditional water heaters are somewhat less expensive to purchase and install. This is because, as with most new technologies, a technician will need updated training to develop expertise on newer equipment, including tankless water heaters.

Tankless water heaters may be a little pricier upfront, but:

Why Ditch My Tanked Unit?

Tanked water heaters don’t enjoy the longevity that a tankless water heater offers. They also take up more real estate in your home, since you must devote a place for the tank to stand that’s clear of clutter. Traditional water heaters also tend to use more energy in colder climates, such as New England, since groundwater starts off at a colder baseline temperature than in warmer locales. Additionally, traditional water heaters are limited by the size of the tank.

We’ve all had this experience at some point: your spouse, teenager or roommate enjoys a nice, long, hot shower, but when it’s your turn, you’d better be snappy, as the water grows cooler, faster. More water will be heated eventually, but you’ll need to wait a bit first.

Tankless water heaters offer an unlimited supply of hot water, but not necessarily to more than one appliance or water fixture at a time. You can take a nice, long, hot shower and the water will stay warm the whole time. Your partner can hop in for their shower next, and they’ll have unlimited hot water, too.

How Hot Water Tanks Handle Heavy Demand

Simultaneous demand for hot water can change the equation a bit, though. One tankless water heater only can heat so much water at once. Two people showering in different bathrooms at the same time, or a load laundry requiring hot water running at the same time as the dishwasher on a hot sanitize cycle could force the tankless heater to “split” its efforts, lessening peak performance, and potentially temperature, for each.

This issue can be resolved by installing more than one tankless water heater, though. Tankless water heaters offer the versatility to be connected and “pool” their efforts, or to be directed towards specific appliances or fixtures, only. It’s something to discuss with your favorite local energy expert if your household uses a lot more hot water than average.

Give Yourself the POWER of Cost-Effective Comfort!

Discount Power helps make it easy for you to understand and manage your electricity and natural gas costs, no matter what type of water heater you decide to go with. And with our renewable energy options, we can also help you feel good about the energy you use every day.

Reach out to one of our energy experts to discuss how you can save on your energy bills by choosing the provider and plan that works best for you. We make shopping for electricity and natural gas plans easy. Learn more about your options when you become a customer today—it only takes five minutes to enroll!

Want to learn more? Let's get started! CHECK OUT YOUR OPTIONS