Water Heaters


Tank Water Heaters (storage water heaters) provide a large volume of reliable, low-cost hot water. Fuel sources can be propane, natural gas, or electricity. 

Residential tank water heaters typically store between 20 and 80 gallons of hot water, and 40 or 50 gallon water heaters are very common for most residences. The heating temperature can be adjusted up or down by a control on the unit. Tank water heaters are often located in a garage, basement, or laundry room.

If you are interested in renovating a standard 5' x 9' bathroom to a master suite or an in-home spa, you may need to upgrade to a larger gallon capacity unit, especially if the new bathroom will include a deep soaking tub with a multi-head shower system. Replacing a tank water heater with another tank water heater is fast and relatively simple, which keeps labor costs to a minimum.


Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters, also known as demand-type or instantaneous water heaters, provide hot water only as it is needed. They don't produce the standby energy losses associated with storage water heaters (tank water heaters), which can save you money.

Tankless water heaters heat water directly without the use of a storage tank. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit. Either a gas burner or an electric element heats the water. As a result, tankless water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water. However, a tankless water heater's output limits the flow rate.

The initial cost of a tankless water heater is greater than that of a conventional tank water heater, but tankless water heaters will typically last longer and have lower operating and energy costs, which could offset its higher purchase price. Most tankless water heaters have a life expectancy of more than 20 years. They also have easily replaceable parts that extend their life by many more years. In contrast, storage water heaters last 10–15 years.



What size water heater is best for you?  Start by matching the capacity of the hot-water source to the needs of the homeowners.

  • For tank water heaters, the criteria is hot water storage capacity
  • For tankless water heaters, the criteria is hot water flow rate

Incoming water temperature is important, and this varies by region and season. For example, a water heater in the north - either tank or tankless - will need a higher BTU input in the winter than the summer to heat and deliver water to a given temperature.

Whether you choose a tank water heater or a tankless water heater, analyze your typical usage by noting:

  • How many people are showering and when?  Does everyone use the shower at the same time?
  • Is there a deep soaking tub or whirlpool? What is its fill capacity in gallons? 
  • When are major appliances in use? Are the dishwasher and washing machine needed at the same time family members are showering?  
  • If you are accustomed to staggering hot water use, multiple hot water appliances will not be needed at the same time.


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