An Overview of Traditional, Tankless and Smart Water Heaters

September 16, 2021 Published by Leave your thoughts

There can be a lot of questions when it comes to water heaters these days. Traditional models with a storage tank used to be the only option, but these days, there are energy-saving tankless water heaters to consider. Now there are even smart hot water tanks.

But what is a smart hot water tank? And do you really save money with a tankless water heater? Read on to find out.

Traditional water heaters

A traditional water heater has a storage tank that holds a certain amount of hot water at the ready, usually between 20 and 80 gallons. One downside to this model is that once the hot water is used up, you need to wait for more water to heat up in the tank before enjoying any more hot water.

This was the first type of water heater on the scene out of the three mentioned here, and it’s also the most affordable to install. They are still the standard option in most homes and can be found in a variety of sizes to suit the size of the home.


Sometimes making hot water is a tankless job—that is, it’s better suited for water heaters that do not use a storage tank. Tankless water heaters do not store hot water but, rather, heat it on demand. There are some benefits to this, including having an endless supply of hot water and not having to wait for the water to heat up. These models also take up less space and can fit into tight quarters.

It’s been said that tankless water heaters are also cost efficient—but do you really save money with a tankless water heater? It’s likely that that will be the case for you, but the answer really depends on your water-usage habits. According to the United States Department of Energy, tankless water heaters can be 24 to 34 percent more efficient than traditional storage tank water heaters for homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water per day.

This translates to $100 in annual savings for a gas-powered tankless water heater. For electric models, the savings are a bit lower, with an estimated $44 less per year spent on energy costs.

They will also last longer than traditional models, with a 20+ year lifespan compared to the 10- or 15-year lifespan of a traditional model. But the initial cost of a tankless model is higher, and that should be taken into account when calculating any potential long-term savings.

Smart water heaters

A smart water heater is perhaps the more energy-efficient option. Thanks to modern advancements in technology, you can now control certain types of water heaters through an app on your smartphone. There are smart water heaters available in both tankless and traditional models.

Not only does this give you control, but these devices can also learn your home’s water-heating needs and habits and automatically adjust to have hot water ready when you usually need it. Conversely, they can save you money by not wasting energy trying to keep hot water ready when you won’t be needing it.

Whether you need a traditional water heater or you’re looking to upgrade to a modern smart tankless water heater, contact Orchard Plumbing today.

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