Heating Solutions: Traditional Water Heaters Vs Tankless Options

A water heater is a must-have for a household. It is a great investment and one you can rely on for many years. If you have recently bought a water heater, you must have noticed the many options available. In recent years, tankless water heaters have been replacing traditional water heaters.

With water heating among the top utility expenses for many households, families are always looking for cost-effective and efficient heating options. This is one of the reasons why tankless water heaters have become popular.

However, some people still prefer traditional water heaters. You should know about the differences between the two water heating options as a homeowner. It will help you make an informed decision when installing or replacing your water heating system.

If you are unsure about your choices, our water heating technicians at Curtis Plumbing are on standby to assist you make the right decisions for your needs. We will also help you install, replace, repair, and offer maintenance services for your chosen water heating solution.

Traditional Water Heaters

The main component of traditional water heaters is a large cylindrical tank that stores and heats water. The traditional water heater uses either electricity or a gas burner to heat water. It has an insulated top cover to keep the water warm until it’s ready for household use, including bathing.

Hot/warm water flows from the tank into a home’s plumbing system when you turn on the hot water tap.

Advantages of a Traditional Water Heater

  1. It is inexpensive to install. Compared to other water heating solutions, traditional water heating solutions require less upfront investment.
  2. Easy to install. They are also easier to install compared to modern water heating solutions as they don’t have parts or complicated technological features.
  3. Inexpensive to repair. The fact that they don’t have complicated features also makes traditional water heaters simple and cheaper to repair, unlike modern water heaters.


  1. They take up a lot of space. The tanks that characterize traditional water heaters are often bulky and end up taking up space to serve other purposes.
  2. They are not as energy-efficient as modern heating solutions. They increase a household’s utility bill as they operate by constantly heating water.
  3. Have a shorter lifespan than other heating options. They need regular maintenance and have parts that need regular replacing. These maintenance and periodic replacements often shorten their useful life. You may need to keep replacing the entire system every few years.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters do not need you to store water in a tank. Their major quality is their ability to heat water on demand. Like traditional water heaters, they also use electricity or gas power to heat water. But, they use advanced technology to heat water quickly and instantly direct it to your taps or shower.

Advantages of a Tankless Water Heater

  1. They take up less space as they don’t need a storage tank. You can stall the water heater almost anywhere in your home.
  2. With proper installation, you never have to worry about running out of hot water.
  3. They are more energy-efficient than traditional water heaters. They heat water only when you need it and don’t store heated water.
  4. They have a longer lifespan than their traditional counterparts. With proper maintenance, you can use a tankless water heater for 20 years or more.


  1. They are expensive to install. Tankless water heaters require a higher initial investment than traditional models, including requiring an often expensive specialist plumber to install them.
  2. They need more complex repairs and maintenance. Besides being costly, you may need to have a trained specialist on call in case of an issue.

How Do Modern Tankless Option Compare with Traditional Water Heaters

If you are looking to install a new water heater, you may be wondering whether to install a tank or opt for a tankless heating system. While both options have their pros and cons, individual homeowners prefer one over the other. Here is how the two types of water heaters compare:

  • Initial Investment – You need a significantly higher initial investment if you choose to install a tankless water heater. The higher costs include the price of the unit itself and the installation or labor cost. In most cases, the initial costs of a tankless system are nearly twice the cost of buying and installing the traditional water heater.
  • Operating Cost – traditional water heaters are less energy efficient meaning you pay more in utility bills than in a tankless system. You also pay more for regular repairs.
  • Lifespan – The useful lifespan of traditional water heaters is between 10 and 15 years. However, a tankless water heater can last for up to 20 years or even longer.
  • Hot Water Usage – You need to determine which option is better for your home depending on your specific household needs. A tankless water heater utilizes less water and energy but it does not store water for future use. If you don’t need hot water on demand but need to store water and are on a budget, the storage tank system may be a good option, especially if you have a big household.

Other Considerations

It is clear that while the traditional water heater has significantly lesser upfront costs, it may end up being more costly in the long term. But, initial and operating costs are not the only considerations you need to make when buying a water heater for your home. You also need to consider other factors, including:

  • Available space – you may prefer a traditional water heater but lack the space to put the often bulky tanks.
  • Size and capacity – you need to consider whether the size and capacity of the water heater match the hot water needs of your household. For instance, you may need to install two or three tankless water heaters for your huge household while a single traditional water heater can serve the same needs.
  • Fuel source – while a gas-powered tankless model may be energy efficient and cost-effective, you may not have access to gas in your location and might have to settle for an electric-powered one.

Contact Your Tucson Water Heater Installation, Repair, and Maintenance Experts

At Curtis Plumbing, we have seen more and more Arizona households install tankless water heaters. We have installed many such systems in the Tucson area. However, the traditional water heater system is still the most common heating solution across homes.

Each type of water heating system has its benefits and drawbacks and you also have your preference. Whatever choice you make, you can rely on us for the best installation, repair, and maintenance services.

If you are not sure about which water heater to install, we will go over the details together and help you choose the right one for your new or recently renovated home. We have the skills and the experience. Contact us today for affordable and quality Tucson plumbing services.