Tankless vs. Traditional Water Heater

If you're buying a water heater, one of the questions you'll have to ask yourself is whether to buy a tank-style, traditional water heater, or a tankless water heater.

Tankless units are a relatively new plumbing innovation that offer efficiency and convenience in one unit. Tank-style water heaters are a tried-and-true product found in most homes.

Which one is right for you? 

How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work?

A tankless water heater is a wall unit that uses burners to heat water as it runs through the heater. Once the water is heated, it's delivered directly to the faucets without ever being stored in a tank. Tankless water heaters can be run on electricity or gas.


  • Efficient. Tankless water heaters vary in efficiency, as do tank-style water heaters. Nonetheless, some sources say that tankless water heaters can be over 30% more efficient than traditional water heaters. Tankless water heaters are more efficient because the water is not stored and heated until used - it's heated on demand only.
  • Longer life span. Tankless water heaters are said to need less maintenance and have a longer life span than tank-style heaters.
  • Endless source of hot water. Whereas a tank water heater can run out of hot water in the tank, tankless water heaters never run out of hot water. 


  • Higher upfront cost. 
  • Takes longer to deliver hot water.
  • Inconsistent water temperature when multiple demands placed on the system.

How Does a Tank-Style Water Heater Work?

A tank-style, traditional water heater is a tank with heating elements inside. The large tank heats the water and then keeps it hot while it's waiting to be used. When the hot water is turned on somewhere in the house, water is pulled from the tank. The used water is replenished by cold water, which is then heated and held on stand-by until it's needed. 



  • Inefficient compared to tankless water heaters.
  • Shorter service life.

Which One is Right For You?

When you're in need of a new water heater, the choices can be overwhelming. It's important to get help from a professional plumber, who can point you to a system that meets your lifestyle and your home's demand for hot water. 

Shopping around for the right tankless unit can help you find one that will meet your budget. Talk to your plumber for recommendations. 

Need a New Water Heater? Call Pilot Plumbing Company

At Pilot Plumbing Company, we provide water heater installation for homeowners in and around North Houston and Montgomery County. Call today to make an appointment and learn more about your upcoming water heater replacement.

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