Tank Vs Tankless Water Heater: Pros and Cons

Posted by on May 30/2023 | 0 Comments

Tank Vs Tankless Water Heater: Pros and Cons

Have you ever run out of hot water mid-shower? You likely have a tank water heater. Frequently found in regular homes, tank water heaters heat up gallons of water for daily use. But when that tank doesn’t fill and heat fast enough, you’re left waiting while cold and wet. In the debate of tank vs tankless water heaters, tank versions aren’t all bad. If you live alone, you’ll likely have all the hot water you need. Plus, they don’t come with all the expensive upfront costs of a tankless unit.

The decision of whether to choose a tank vs tankless water heater is a big one. In this post, our Ontario plumbers from Hy-Pro Plumbing and Drain Cleaning will walk you through the water heater differences. Plus, we’ll also show you how each unit works and what you can expect in terms of cost. All of these factors come into play in the decision-making process, so it’s important to understand what’s involved before you commit.

Tank Water Heater

How it works: A residential storage tank water heater has a capacity that ranges from 30 to 60 gallons. Whoever built your home or installed the heater likely took the size of the current household into consideration. The most common size of a water heater tank is 50 gallons, able to serve three to four people. These units heat water by way of electricity or gas, holding hot water in a tank so that it’s ready as soon as you turn on the tap.

Where it’s located: Traditional water heaters are usually found in basements. They’re located in the basement washroom or laundry room if you have one, or stored in the corner out of the way. This setup is ideal as you won’t have to stare at the 5-foot relic in your everyday life. Yet it’s still easily accessible should it require repairs or maintenance. If you do not have a basement, then your conventional storage tank water heater is likely in a closet in your kitchen or hallway.

Energy efficiency: Conserving energy, and thus saving money, is a priority for just about every homeowner. Tank water heaters are known to be less energy efficient than tankless units, which means you’ll shell out more money each year heating your cold water. Due to their increased flow rate, gas water heaters can be significantly cheaper to run than electric models. So regardless of which type of water heater you prefer, if you want to save money, go for gas.

Cost & Installation: Buying a brand-new tank water heater outright will cost you around $600, depending on the size and model. This price is before installation costs. If you already have an existing tank unit, then a replacement won’t be difficult.

Maintenance: Maintaining a tank water heater is relatively easy. The tank should be flushed periodically, especially with the GTA’s hard water supply. Tank units can encounter clogs in their lines, sediment buildup, broken heating elements, and faulty thermostats. They may also run into issues with corrosion. Therefore, getting an annual inspection is a good way to prevent this, as well as larger issues that may occur in the future.


  • Easy to install
  • Affordable up-front cost
  • Water in the tank is hot and ready for use 24/7
  • Trusted system


  • Higher energy costs
  • Wastes energy by maintaining hot water temperatures constantly
  • Major leaks are an issue
  • Must wait to heat water after draining the tank

Tankless Water Heater

How it works: Tankless units are also called on-demand water heaters. Just from reading the name, you can already tell they’re more convenient at heating water than tank units as they supply hot water on demand. Tankless units heat water using a heat exchanger as it passes through, negating the need for a large tank and the associated costs of maintaining the heat of the water inside of it. These types of water heaters run on electricity or gas.

Where it’s located: Unlike tank units, tankless heaters mount on a wall. They don’t take up much space at all and don’t look as unsightly. This is fantastic for small houses without basements, but even if you have a basement, who wouldn’t appreciate the extra floor space? Tankless units measure about 2’x1’ in total size.

Energy efficiency: Gas models cost less to run than electricity-powered units because gas is less expensive than electricity at this point. Because tankless water heaters heat water as it passes through the heating element, there’s no need for the system to consistently use electricity. This means the appliance will use less energy overall, and your utility bills will be lower than if you had a tank heater. With that said, because an electric water heater draws a lot of power, you may need to upgrade your electrical service.

Cost & installation: One of the main points in the tank vs tankless water heater debate in favour of tank models is initial cost and installation. Depending on the size of your home and household, the tankless water heater installation requires a fair amount of work. It involves drilling through the walls to access your water lines. So the more access you need, the more expensive it will be.

Prices for tankless models start at around $3,500, but they can cost over $7,000 for the unit alone. Installation fees can range up to $1,500, bordering the more expensive side if you are converting your home from a tank to an electric tankless water heater. The installation process of a tankless unit is also a bit more complex and requires the help of a licensed plumber.

Maintenance: Tankless units don’t have a tank, so you don’t have to worry about corrosion or leaks. The hard water supply in the GTA means that you should flush your tankless unit periodically. However, little else is required to ensure it runs effectively other than cleaning out the sediment filter. You will need the help of a professional plumber for these kinds of maintenance tasks.


  • Uses less energy/higher energy savings
  • No standby heat loss maintaining temperature
  • Lower risk of leaks/less severe leaks
  • Saves space
  • Longer lifespan


  • Expensive upfront costs
  • May require energy upgrades
  • Long payback time

Tank vs Tankless Water Heater: Which Is Right For Your Home?

Whether you’re building your home from the ground up or deciding whether to replace a tank storage water heater with a tankless model, you should consider the above points carefully. Once you’ve made your final decision, see below for what to expect during installation and beyond.

Tank Water Heater

Tankless water heaters may be the way of the future, but they’re not right for every home. Choosing a traditional tank water heater may make more sense for your current budget and heated water needs. If you’ve landed on a tank hot water heater as the right choice for your abode, the installation process is relatively easy.

What’s Involved

If you are replacing an existing tank water heater, you will need to first drain the current tank before unhooking the water and electric supply or gas lines. You’ll then install the pressure relief valve, heat trap fittings, and water line connections before filling the holding tank and connecting the thermostat. You’ll also need to set the thermostat to your preferred temperature levels. While installing a tank hot water heater is relatively simple, any type of device that deals with electricity and plumbing lines is best handled by a professional plumber. Tank models have a shorter lifespan than tankless units, while gas-powered models have a longer life expectancy than electrical models. 

Tankless Water Heater

It’s common for homeowners to switch up their tank unit to a tankless model, but not the other way around. As you can see from the pros and cons outlined above, the tankless water heater vs tank heater debate favours tankless units from the angles of convenience and energy efficiency. Plus, once you convert your home for a tankless unit, you don’t want to have to go through the trouble of converting it back. So what’s exactly involved in the process?

What’s Involved

Installing a tankless unit is a lengthy process that involves draining your old tank unit with a hose and bucket and mounting the new tankless unit. These are the easy steps. The next includes connecting the pipes to your new system, installing flow and pressure valves, and then bleeding the hot water system before double-checking all the electric wiring. Because tankless hot water heater installation requires plumbing and electrical work, it’s important to hire a professional plumber that’s certified in electrical work for the job. Proper tests must be carried out before the heater can be used, and the temperature settings must be configured to deliver the desired temperature. Choosing the correct settings can help you save more on your energy bills.

Call Hy-Pro For Professional Water Heater Replacement & Installation

Installing a water heater for the first time? Replacing an old unit with an updated one? You can count on Hy-Pro Plumbing and Drain Cleaning for expert service and advice. If, after reading this blog, you’re still debating water tank vs tankless units, give our knowledgeable team a call. We can help recommend the right type of unit for your needs as well as which size or fuel type is correct for your home. We’re the professional plumbers you can trust for quality installations and replacements!

Call (877)554-9776 today to speak with our friendly customer care agents or to book an appointment. While you’re here, we invite you to learn more about our other popular plumbing services, including drain cleaning, pipe bursting, and sump pump services.

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