Conventional Vs. Tankless Water Heater

January 5, 2021

People once heated water by boiling it over fires before transporting it to bathtubs and basins. This long-held tradition changed when an Englishman developed the prototype for the modern water heater in 1868. Benjamin Waddy Maughan’s invention fed water through pipes that were heated by Bunsen burners, eventually pouring hot water directly into sinks and bathtubs.

Water heaters have undergone substantial changes since then. Here’s a quick comparison of conventional and tankless water heaters.

The Basics of Traditional Water Heaters

Conventional water heaters take the form of tall metal cylinders. Roughly 2 feet wide and 4 feet tall, these models store water between 120 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.

First, water flows in from the top through the dip tube. The dip tube sends water directly to the bottom where the heating element can be found. The heater stays on until the water reaches the desired temperature.

The Basics of Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters, as their name implies, don’t store water. Rather, they heat water on demand.

After you turn on a hot water faucet, the tankless heater activates its heat exchanger while drawing in water. Reaching a super-hot state, the heat exchanger is able to rapidly heat cold water to your desired temperature. These water heaters come in two main varieties: point-of-use and whole-home tankless water heaters.

The main downside of tankless water heaters is the lag time. After opening your hot water faucet, you’ll have to wait a few seconds for water to flow through. Conventional water heaters keep hot water at the ready around the clock. On the bright side, tankless water heaters offer energy savings since you won’t need to heat dozens of gallons of water at all times.

Point-of-use models have just one heat exchanger and are only good for one or two water faucets. Whole-home models use multiple heat exchangers and have little to no lag time.

Your Resource for Water Heater Services in Northern Idaho

We’re Border Sheet Metal & Heating, a full-service sheet metal, HVAC and water heater company located in Hayden, Idaho. Since opening our doors in 1942, we’ve become known as a leading home services company in this region. We install, repair and maintain heating and cooling systems, water heaters, gas fireplaces and garage heaters. We even deal with geothermal heating systems. Reach out to us today to learn more about our services.

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