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Tankless vs. standard water heaters

Your #WiseChoice for HVAC service offers its insight so you can make a ‘wise choice.’

In its water heater buying guide, Consumer Reports said choosing a water heater comes down to how much water you use (capacity) and how your home heats it. Storage water tanks, considered the standard type of water heaters, are most efficient when heated with natural gas. “Natural gas water heaters typically use less energy and cost less to run (by about half) than electric water heaters, although you should note that gas models cost more at the time of purchase,” wrote Consumer Reports in its guide.

No matter how they’re heated, standard storage heaters do run the risk of leakage. “Regular water heaters have the potential to burst over time, and in the Mid-South, that can be an insurance nightmare because most are installed in your attic,” said Sol Choate, third-generation owner of Choate’s Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing, your #WiseChoice for HVAC services.

Choate’s Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing detailed the benefits of tankless water heaters as alternatives to standard water heaters in its own blog post. “Tankless gets you unlimited hot water, lower energy costs and typically twice the lifespan compared to a standard water heater,” Choate said. “The cons are the starting cost doubles the price of a regular water heater: $3,800 and up, depending on the model.” He emphasized, however, that homeowners can recoup those heavy start-up costs over time with a tankless water heater’s longer lifespan and its impact on lower utility bills.

After giving the thumbs-down to tankless water heaters in its initial testing of them in 2008 for inconsistent water temperatures and continual maintenance, Consumer Reports has since praised the tankless variety for its improvements in efficiency and economy.

“Even with these innovations, tankless water heaters aren’t for everyone. For example, if your current water heater is electric and you don’t have natural gas or propane capability, a tankless model might not make sense because you’d almost need to double the capacity of your electrical system to power the electric tankless unit,” wrote Daniel DiClerico, home expert and smart home strategist for HomeAdvisor, when he was evaluating tankless water heaters for Consumer Reports in 2015.

There are other types to consider: solar, heat pump (hybrid) and condensing water heaters. Consumer Reports’ guide does an excellent job of detailing each’s specifications. It also said no matter which type you’re shopping, consider these features:

  • Warranty
  • Anti-scale devices. Consumer Reports warned about claims of water heaters having fancy feature for reducing the build-up of scaling minerals. It recommended just focusing on heaters with a 12-year warranty.
  • Brass drain valves instead of plastic
  • Glass-lined tanks
  • Digital displays

Contact Choate’s Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing at 901-347-8089 for trustworthy guidance on which water heater best suits your home.

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