You may have recently heard about, or even recently moved into a home with a tankless water heater, and wonder how it differs from a traditional water heater. Tankless water heaters were introduced in the 1990’s, so they are still relatively new, as most homes still rely on traditional water heaters for their plumbing system. So what are the main differences and benefits of both?

Energy Consumption

The biggest difference between these two types of water heaters is that a tankless water heater will use much less energy to heat the water, when compared to a traditional water heater. A conventional water heater, that you may already be familiar with, will keep a reserve of hot water that you can access at any time. A tankless water heater will heat the water as you need it, meaning energy is only used when necessary. When a traditional water heater runs out of hot water, it will reheat automatically, whether you need the hot water at that time or not. 

Storing Water

Repairman turning dial on water heaterYou probably know what your water heater looks like – it’s the big tank, most likely in your basement, that connects to the rest of the plumbing in your home. Your water heater has this big tank because that’s where it stores all of the hot water for your home. It will fill up the tank and heat the water for you to access at any time, rather than heating the water as needed.

A tankless water heater does just the opposite of a traditional water heater. Instead of heating all the water at once to save for later, a tankless water heater heats the water as it flows through the pipes, which is actually proven to be more energy efficient than the conventional alternative. 


Again, you probably know which appliance is your water heater if you have a conventional one – they’re hard to miss. With that in mind, it’s very easy to see how much room and space these water heaters take up. If you live in something like an apartment, this may not be a concern for you, but if you’re in a home short on storage space, your water heater could be taking up a big chunk of that space. 

A tankless water heater is usually mounted on a wall and takes very little space, connecting right into the plumbing system of the home. This not only saves space, but provides easier access to the water heater, in case a professional or repairman needs to address it. 


Repairman turning knob on water heaterWater heaters may not seem like a dangerous threat to your home, but if you live with small children or animals, it may be worth looking into. Traditional water heaters can be hot to the touch, and can burn someone if they touch or bump into the copper pipes or tank. Some water heaters may even have a pilot light that is easily accessible, so it may be beneficial to provide some extra security around it. Small animals, if unsupervised, may crawl beneath or behind the heater, risking burns or other potential injuries. 

Since most tankless water heaters are mounted on walls, they are much safer to be around. Since they are not constantly running, they are not always hot, and you may feel comfortable moving around them in between times that it heats water. However, you may still want to avoid this heater when it does heat water. 

Water Heater Repairs from Stack Plumbing

If you need a water heater replacement, or repairs, Stack Plumbing can take care of it for you! Our plumbers have experience with both types of water heaters and can help you with whatever you may need. Visit our website or call (440) 937-9134 today!

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