Is it time to replace your water heater for a new model? Whether you want to try something different, your water usage habits have changed, or your current heater is in its golden years, you most likely have plenty of questions about what kind of water heaters are out there on the market. While this isn’t a definitive guide to water heaters, we hope to answer some of the most basic, but frequently asked questions, we’ve received about them.
Which Are Better, Tank or Tankless Water Heaters?
We can write an entire blog post on this topic! But in the end, it all comes down to what works best for you, so you shouldn’t believe anyone who says that one is simply “better.”
It makes a lot more sense when you understand their key differences. Tank water heaters store and heat a set amount of water, and tankless water heaters simply heat your water when you need it. Tank water heaters give you the convenience of hot water already on hand, but that can be very inefficient at times. Tankless water heaters do-away with that inefficiency, but they can be overtaxed in busy households.
Then What’s a Heat Pump Water Heater?
Heat pump water heaters use a tank, so it doesn’t quite fit into the “tank vs tankless” debate. Instead, the “heat pump” part refers to how the hot water is generated. Instead of using gas burners or electrical resistance, heat pumps take warm air from their surroundings and use it to heat your water. Since heat doesn’t have to be created in these systems, they’re actually far more efficient on a month-to-month basis.
How Long Do They Last?
How long your water heater lasts depends on many factors. For example, are you using a water softener to protect your plumbing appliances? Are you getting consistent maintenance? This is why water heater life expectancy comes in a range instead of any definite numbers (and sometimes they can surpass that range!).
Your typical tank water heater can last you between 10 and 15 years, and tankless water heaters have been known to last more than 20.
How Often Do Water Heaters Need Cleaning?
Tank water heaters tend to collect mineral sediments at the bottom of their tank. If these sediments have too much time to build and aren’t flushed out, it can cause damage to the tank. Plus, the extra layer of resistance they create makes it all the more difficult for the heater to heat the water, thus resulting in longer heating times.
When it comes to tankless water heaters, you might be thinking that this issue isn’t a problem. True, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need to be cleaned out, either. Hardwater—which is quite prevalent here in Texas—can create limescale build up on the heating components of the heater. This will drag down the efficiency of the water heater and contribute to increased energy bills.
For both types of water heaters, a simple flush can be performed annually by a plumbing company in Southlake, TX.