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Tankless vs. Standard Water Heaters: Making an Informed Decision for Your Home

A comfortable and energy-efficient home relies heavily on its water heating system. When deciding on a new water heater for your home, Royal Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning recommends choosing a solution that meets your unique hot water demands, offers long-term energy efficiency, and aligns with your budget constraints. The two most common types of water heaters are tankless and standard (storage tank) water heaters, each with its own set of advantages and limitations. By understanding the distinguishing factors between these systems and analyzing your home’s specific needs, Royal Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning helps you make a well-informed decision about which option is best for you.

Tankless water heaters, also known as instantaneous or on-demand water heaters, provide hot water as needed without relying on a storage tank. These heaters work by heating the water directly as it passes through the unit, ensuring a continuous hot water supply. On the other hand, standard water heaters store a predetermined amount of heated water in a tank, ready for use when needed. While this traditional system is generally more affordable upfront, it may consume more energy than a tankless system due to the need for constant water heating and heat loss through the tank’s walls.

Continue reading as Royal Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning delves deeper into the key differences between tankless and standard water heaters, discussing factors such as installation, energy efficiency, lifespan, cost, and other characteristics that may influence your decision-making. With heating, plumbing, and air conditioning being our areas of expertise, our objective is to equip you with the essential knowledge to make an informed choice that caters to your home’s hot water needs.

1. Installation Considerations and Space Requirements

The installation process and spatial limitations are essential factors to consider when choosing between tankless and standard water heaters. Here, we discuss the critical aspects associated with the installation of both systems.

– Tankless Water Heaters: As they don’t require a storage tank, tankless water heaters have a smaller footprint and can be mounted on a wall, thus saving valuable floor space. However, installation can be more complicated, as it may require upgrades to your electrical, gas, or venting system.

– Standard Water Heaters: These systems require a significant amount of space to accommodate the storage tank. On the other hand, installation is usually more straightforward than tankless systems. It is essential to correctly size the storage tank based on the hot water demand in your home.

2. Energy Efficiency and Operating Costs

Energy efficiency and operating costs are crucial elements to consider, as they directly impact your utility bills and long-term savings. Both tankless and standard water heaters have varying degrees of efficiency and associated costs.

– Tankless Water Heaters: Tankless systems are typically more energy-efficient, as they heat water on-demand and eliminate standby heat loss associated with standard water heaters. As a result, they may offer long-term savings on utility bills. However, the initial purchase and installation costs tend to be significantly higher.

– Standard Water Heaters: While generally more affordable upfront, standard water heaters can be less energy-efficient due to the constant heating and cooling of stored water, resulting in higher operating costs. Insulating the storage tank can help mitigate heat loss and improve efficiency.

3. Lifespan and Maintenance

Understanding the lifespan and maintenance requirements is instrumental when investing in a water heater, as it directly affects the long-term value of your investment.

– Tankless Water Heaters: With proper maintenance, tankless water heaters can last up to 20 years or even longer. They typically require less frequent maintenance, although periodic descaling is necessary to prevent mineral buildup and maintain efficiency.

– Standard Water Heaters: The average lifespan of a standard water heater ranges from 10 to 15 years. Regular maintenance, such as flushing the tank, replacing the anode rod, and checking for leaks, is essential to prolong the life of the tank and maintain the system’s efficiency.

4. Hot Water Supply and Flow Rate

Sufficient hot water supply and consistent flow rate contribute to the comfort and efficiency of your home’s water heating system, making them essential factors in choosing the right appliance.

– Tankless Water Heaters: Since tankless systems heat water on-demand, they provide a continuous flow of hot water. However, the flow rate can be lower than that of storage tank systems, and multiple simultaneous water usage points may necessitate multiple units.

– Standard Water Heaters: With a standard water heater, the hot water supply is limited to the tank’s storage capacity. When the stored hot water runs out, the tank may have a waiting period to heat the incoming cold water, resulting in periods of cold water delivery.


The decision between tankless and standard water heaters ultimately depends on your unique hot water requirements, budget constraints, and energy efficiency goals. Examining the advantages and drawbacks of each system helps you make an informed choice tailored to your specific needs.

For personalized assistance in selecting the ideal water heater solution for your home, contact our skilled technicians at Royal Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning today. We offer a broad range of heating, plumbing, and air conditioning services and tankless water heaters in Draper, UT, to ensure your home is comfortable and efficient, resulting in long-lasting satisfaction and peace of mind.