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Advice from a water heater specialist: Tankless vs. traditional water heaters
November 19, 2020 at 5:00 AM
This is a picture of runing water heated by a water heater installed by a water heater specialist.

Water heaters are wonderful things. Whether you want to take a shower, need to wash dishes, or need to wash your clothes, water heaters make sure hot water is available when you need it. How do you know which type of water heater is best for your home? Here are some pros and cons to traditional water heaters and tankless water heaters brought to you by the water heater specialists at Economy Plumbing.

How they work

Traditional water heaters

Most traditional storage tank water heaters hold 50 gallons of water, although some hold more and some hold less. This water is kept hot with the help of electricity, propane, natural gas, or fuel oil, so hot water is always available when you need it.

Tankless water heaters

Unlike traditional water heaters, tankless water heaters don’t have a tank to store water. Instead, water passes through the unit and is heated in the process by burners. Tankless water heaters run on electricity, propane, or natural gas. The water is only heated when it is needed, which is why they are also known as on-demand water heaters.

Energy efficiency

Tankless water heaters can be 24%-34% more energy efficient than traditional storage tank water heaters for homes that use 41 gallons of hot water or less on a daily basis, according to For homes with a high use of hot water – approximately 86 gallons per day – tankless water heaters can be 8%-14% more energy efficient than traditional water heaters. Traditional storage tank water heaters are constantly heating water, even when hot water isn’t needed, making them less energy efficient and causing your utility bills to rise.


Traditional water heaters

Storage tank water heater dimensions differ, but they are approximately 5+ feet tall and 2+ feet wide. Traditional water heaters take up more space than tankless water heaters, so available space is something to consider when deciding which type of water heater is the best choice for your home.

Tankless water heaters

Tankless water heater dimensions also differ, but are typically about 2 feet tall and 1 foot wide. Tankless water heaters are great options for compact spaces, as they can be mounted on the wall or fit into tight spaces.


Tankless water heaters typically cost more to purchase than traditional water heaters. However, tankless water heaters’ energy efficiency will allow you to save more money in the long run.

Lifespan and hot water output

Traditional water heaters

Traditional water heaters typically have a lifespan of about 10 to 15 years. Since they have a larger amount of hot water readily available than tankless water heaters, they’re able to handle a higher demand for hot water. It takes approximately 30 to 80 minutes to heat a full tank of water, depending on whether you’re using a gas or electric water heater.

Tankless water heaters

Tankless water heaters typically have a lifespan of about 20 to 30 years, so they last longer than traditional water heaters. They heat approximately two to five gallons of water per minute, so they may struggle to keep up with hot water demand if multiple showers need water at the same time, or if you’re running multiple appliances simultaneously, such as the dishwasher and washing machine.

About Economy Plumbing

Economy Plumbing is based in Austin, TX and provides a variety of plumbing services to the surrounding area, including Marble Falls, TX. All of our service professionals are licensed Texas plumbers dedicated to identifying and resolving the root cause of your plumbing issues. Want to talk to a water heater specialist about which water heater is right for you? Contact us today by filling out this form or calling us at 512-649-2811.