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Water Heaters – To use a tank or not!

Sometimes places are too small to fit a tank water heater. This is when the tankless water heater comes in handy.  There is a hierarchy with tankless water heaters, and below are some things to think about.  Many thanks to Randy Deslatte of Metro Plumbing in New Orleans, LA.

Tank / Tankless Water Heater Options:

Comparison of water heaters - photo from moreheaters.com

Comparison of water heaters – photo from moreheaters.com

  1. Gas Tank
    1. Venting: with galvanized double wall vent pipe out and above roof
    2. Pro: Efficient, electricity goes out you still have hot water, recovery is better because it is making hot water as you use it industry standard, comes in all sizes, from a low boy to a tall tank.
    3. Con: Requires space, prone to leak, you only get the amount of water in the tank, you have to have make up air to accommodate the carbon monoxide output so it needs venting unless in attic or outside garage
  2. Electric Tank
    1. Venting: requires no vent because no combustion, operating cost is more, water recovery is not as good
    2. Pro: can fit in confined spaces
    3. Con: can leak, if electricity goes out you do not have hot water
  3. Interior Gas Tankless
    1. Venting: requires double walled category 3 stainless pipes out and above roof
    2. Pro: Most efficient, less space, endless hot water, no standing pilot (flame no on all the time).  Only uses energy when you turn on the hot water, if electricity goes out you have hot water
    3. Con: Clean once a year with vinegar solution to get calcium out requires pan in case of leak
  4. Exterior Gas Tankless
    1. Venting: no venting
    2. Pro: Most efficient, less space, endless hot water, no standing pilot (flame no on all the time). Only uses energy when you turn on the hot water, if electricity goes out you have hot water
    3. Con: Clean once a year with vinegar solution to get calcium out requires pan in case of leak
  5. Electric Tankless
    1. Venting: requires no venting
    2. Pro: Good for single fixture point of use, not best for whole house
    3. Con: Not the best option because it is an energy hog, but to those of you in electric only buildings with out boilers, this is a good bet if you do not have space for a tank.  Power requirements are tremendous. Electricity goes out you have no hot water. Clean once a year with vinegar solution to get calcium out requires pan in case of leak