Water Heater Choices – Tankless or Conventional

Based on manufacturer’s suggested life, a water heater may need replaced every 8 to 12 years. If your water heater is leaking or not heating, you may want to consider replacing it.  With advancements in technology, there are more choices on the market. While you can replace your water heater with a similar unit, you may want to consider additional features. For example, you may choose to increase or decrease the unit’s holding capacity to accommodate a changing family. Or, you may opt to go tankless.

When looking for a water heater, consider these features:

  • Gallon capacity (40-gallon and 50-gallon heaters are the most common)
  • Recovery rate (the number of gallons the heater will heat in an hour)
  • Dimensions (width and height. Do you have any space restrictions?)
  • Energy efficiency ratings (a sticker on the side should list the estimated annual cost of operation for the unit)


A traditional tank water heater keeps 30–50 gallons of water, and preheats it ahead of time. When someone in your home uses hot water, you can run hot water in seconds. The tank is then refilled and reheated. The purchase price of a conventional water heater is cheaper than tankless options. Installation may be easier and problems may also be simpler to fix. However, a traditional water heater has its drawbacks. A conventional water heater has a shorter life expectancy than a tankless heater, which means you’ll have to replace it more often. Since it’s heating a set amount of water, regardless of your needs, you may use more energy to keep water heated each month. Traditional water heaters are also larger than tankless units, which limits where they can be installed and they can’t be installed outdoors. With significant usage, there’s also the chance that you can run out of hot water.

Tankless heaters store no water, and use energy to heat water only as needed. This can save you a significant amount of money on utility bills.  Both tankless electric water heaters and tankless gas water heaters take up far less space than a conventional heater and they can be mounted outside. Tankless heaters also last up to twice as long as a conventional water heater.  However, there are drawbacks. Tankless water heaters are initially more expensive than conventional heaters, and can be more expensive to install.

When purchasing a water heater, you have to gauge your current budget against the benefits and drawbacks of each model. If you are in the market for a new water heater, let NRH Plumbing’s qualified technicians calculate savings by upgrading your water heater to a more efficient model.  We specialize in water heater replacement and we have NO hidden costs. Our price is our price. Call NRH Plumbing at 612-900-7728 and schedule an appointment today to discuss your water heater replacement options.