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Tankless vs. Conventional Water Heaters

Living here in Boston, especially through the bitter cold winters, there’s something to be said for a water heater that spouts out instant hot water on demand! Not only do tankless water heaters offer immediate warmth and comfort, they take up less space and are more efficient—reducing energy costs by about 25% annually. But before you rush out to buy one, learn the facts about both tankless and conventional water heaters from ROTO-ROOTER’s Boston plumbers, and decide which one is right for you:

Tankless Water Heater

  • Also known as an “on-demand” or “instant” hot water heater, it provides hot water only as it is needed. Instead of storing water in a tank, it uses heat exchangers that turn on only when you use the faucet, quickly heating up water as needed.
  • If it’s the proper size, it delivers a continuous supply of water at a set temperature.
  • Hangs on exterior or interior wall and takes up less space
  • Cost: $700-$1500
  • Installation and piping can be costly
  • Gas-powered models will need good, costly venting
  • Retrofitting homes with traditional units can be expensive and complex
  • If the heater is far away, there could be a delay before the water reaches the tap.
  • Life expectancy of 20+ years

Conventional Water Heater

  • Stores and heats cold water supply in large tank
  • When tank begins to cool, the burner kicks on and heats up the water again.
  • Water can be set to desired temperature using a thermostat
  • Some models are equipped with heat pumps and thicker walls, making them almost as efficient as tankless units.
  • Straightforward system that works well
  • Cost: $300 or less
  • Installation can be simple
  • Consumes energy whether water is needed or not
  • Large, takes up more space than tankless models
  • Life expectancy of 11-15 years

For more Boston plumbing tips, as well as instructional videos, visit ROTO-ROOTER Boston and our Google+ page.

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