With the more recent advent of tankless water heaters, there has come to be some confusion as to whether or not these kinds of water heaters are more cost-effective than the more traditional water heater types. For those interested in learning more about tank vs tankless water heaters as well as the basics of how they work and the water heater installation and ongoing operational costs associated with each, we’ve put together a quick rundown to help clear up some of that confusion. Follow along for the scoop.
Traditional Water Heaters (Tank)
Traditional water heaters, or tank water heaters, work by heating water to a certain temperature and then holding that water in a storage tank for later use as it’s needed. These water heaters are built to various sizes, and as such, hold varying amounts of hot water. Either by electrical heating elements or by a gas-powered flame, the water is then heated on and off throughout the day so as to keep it at the set temperature at all times.
As to water heater cost, these types of water heaters represent the more affordable option in terms of upfront expenses. They are relatively simple to install, and they also utilize older technology. As such, the national average for the price of water heater installation labor in addition to the cost of this kind of water heater itself and its parts comes to around $1,308.
Tankless Water Heaters
The newest style of water heater is the tankless water heater. As the name of this type of water heater suggests, this system does not utilize a large storage tank like traditional water heaters, but instead, is a more compact unit that heats water only when called for. Water is not steadily heated and held, such as in traditional models, so there is less energy consumption required in order for these kinds of water heaters to do the job.
While the labor required for this type of water heater installation is not much more intensive than that of a traditional water heater installation, the water heater cost itself, due to it being a more complex system that utilizes much newer technology, is considerably higher on the front end. The national average for the cost of a new tankless water heater is about $3000. In addition, national averages for the required installation labor typically run between $500 and $1000.
Aside from generalized upfront cost figures, there can also be other factors that affect upfront expenses. Location is typically the most significant factor that can totally change upfront installation needs and parts costs. For example, if you want a gas-fueled tankless heater installed in a location where there is no pre-existing gas pipe, new piping will need to be run to that location which would then cause some upfront cost fluctuation.
Beyond initial costs, the tank vs tankless water heater cost debate also involves the costs associated with the continual use of each of these dueling systems. While tankless water heater units themselves do cost considerably more at purchase time, they utilize far less energy for continued operation. This is due to the fact that they only heat water when it’s called for. Traditional tank water heaters continuously heat the water held in their storage tanks, thus calling for much more energy use with continued operation. So, if upfront costs are more of a concern, we recommend going with more traditional tank models, but if ongoing costs and less environmentally-friendly energy consumption rates are more of an issue for the customer, then we tend to recommend a tankless model.
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