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Sunset Air Blog

Tank vs. Tankless: Which Water Heater Should I Choose?

If it’s time for a new water heater, you have the option of choosing a tank or tankless water heater. Which is for you? You are probably pretty familiar with how a tank water heater works, but do you know how a tankless water heater works? Understanding the differences between each system can go a long way toward helping you decide which type of unit will be best for your home. The experts at Sunset Air are happy to sit down and help explain how each type of hot water heater works – all you have to do is call and schedule an appointment for water heater services in Olympia, WA.

How a Tankless Water Heater Works

The key to a tankless water heater is a component called a heat exchanger; this is how a tankless system provides hot water on demand. It works like this: when you open a hot water tap anywhere in your home, the heat exchanger in the tankless device turns on and cold water from the intake valve flows into the heat exchanger. Within a matter of seconds the cold water is heated, then flows to the open hot water tap. Some benefits of a tankless system are:

  • Very good energy efficiency – there is no standby heat loss with a tankless system and it uses significantly less energy to heat water
  • Endless hot water – with a tankless system, you never have to worry about running out of hot water
  • Space-savers – tankless heaters are much smaller than tank water heaters

However, the installation of a tankless water heater is more complex than a tank unit, particularly with a gas tankless device, and initial costs are more expensive.

How a Tank Water Heater Works

Tank water heaters use either gas or electricity to heat. The heating elements are at the bottom of the tank and once the water at the bottom is heated, it rises to the top for use. The storage tanks are double-lined and insulated, but they’ll still suffer from standby heat loss. When a hot water tap is opened, the hot water flows from the top of the tank. Once the water in the tank reduces to a certain level, it is replenished with water from the cold water valve. The cold water travels through a component called a dip tube that forces the cold water to the bottom of the tank. Some benefits of a tank water heater are:

  • Easy installation – installation is not as complex as it is with a tankless system
  • Low initial costs – storage tank water heaters are typically less expensive to purchase and install than tankless water heaters

So which option is best for you? This is where working with a professional is critical.

The experts at Sunset Air can help you determine which type of hot water heater is best for your home and install, repair and maintain it for you – it’s all part of our water heater services in Olympia, WA.

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