Check Out The New 2023 Tax Credits & Rebates! Read More

Skip navigation

Douglas Cooling & Heating Blog

Should I Get a Tankless Water Heater or a Tank Water Heater?

When we consult with plumbing customers, they frequently ask if they should invest in a tankless water heater or a tank water heater for their Birmingham homes. It’s a great question and one we love to discuss.

Both have positive qualities and potential drawbacks. In order to determine which is best for you, we’ll share some benefits of each to answer these questions for you. Once you’ve identified priorities, the solution becomes more clear. For a free estimate, you can always contact us at Douglas Cooling & Heating.  

Positives of a Tankless Water Heater or a Tank Water Heater

Tankless Water Heater

Easily described as an on-demand water heater, tankless water heaters employ high-power burners to quickly heat water as it flows through a heat exchanger. The water flows directly to your faucet or appliance. No more wasting water while you wait for the hot water to arrive.

Energy & Water Savings

Tankless water heaters are powered by gas or electricity. They are regarded as more energy efficient. In fact, according to, if you use 41 gallons or less of heated water daily, tankless heaters provide 24 to 34 percent more energy efficiency than a traditional tank water heater.

For homes which use more hot water, say 86 gallons a day, tankless still wins by eight to 14 percent. Part of the reason they’re more energy-efficient is there’s no reason to pay to heat water as it sits.

Longer Lifespan

The system also has a long lifespan. Tankless water heaters easily last up to 20 or 30 years, with proper care. They may be mounted on the wall or in some cases, inside a closet or in a sink cabinet at point-of-use.

Some larger homes find benefits in installing one upstairs and one downstairs to meet various needs simultaneously.

Space Saving

A smaller footprint means greater flexibility. If you’ve ever considered downsizing or building a “granny pod,” tankless water heaters are great space-savers. They can even be installed outside your home!

Tank Water Heater

Upfront Cost

Found in most homes, these traditional water heaters are familiar to most homeowners. Commonly, the tanks store between 30 and 50 gallons of water. Fueled by gas or electricity, they are less expensive to purchase than a tankless version.

Drawbacks of a Tankless Water Heater or a Tank Water Heater

Tankless Water Heater

Upfront Cost

Simply put, initial cost. Tankless water heaters cost more up front to purchase and install, depending on the specific situation. If you plan to move in the near future, it might not be a high priority for you.

For homeowners who plan to stay in their homes, however, the monthly energy savings will continue long after one or even two tank heaters have died. The longer lifespan means owners won’t need to replace it for a couple decades or more. They’ll enjoy the energy and water savings from day one of ownership.

Tank Water Heater

Operating Cost

They cost more to operate which takes away from the purchase savings compared to a tankless water model.


With diligent maintenance and a water softener, they might last half as long as a tankless water heater. You might end up buying two or even three tank water heaters during one tankless heater’s useful life.


They take up space in your garage, basement or utility room.


Also, the tank eventually empties. If multiple people must shower or you run laundry, the tank empties pretty fast. You must wait to take a shower until the tank refills and heats again. This is generally inconvenient. It’s downright uncomfortable if you’re showering when the tank uses up all hot water.


There’s a risk of flooding if your tank springs a leak.

Questions to Answer When You Consider a Tankless Water Heater or a Tank Water Heater

  1. Do you have gas or electric lines for heating water? Gas is often less expensive and creates the most energy-efficient gains.
  2. Do you have an existing tankless water heater or a tank water heater you’re replacing? If you’re switching from one to the other, it might affect installation costs if new pipes or lines need installation.
  3. How long do you plan to stay in your home?
  4. How many family members live in the home?
  5. What’s your average daily water usage?

Give these questions a minute, gather your utility bills and give us a call!

When You’re Ready for a Tankless Water Heater or a Tank Water Heater Call Douglas Cooling & Heating

Next time you need assistance with plumbing services, whether it’s a new water heater, toilets, leaky faucets or water quality, call Douglas Cooling & Heating. We’re happy to review the pros and cons of a tankless water heater or a tank water heater based on your specific situation.

Our plumbing team is eager to show you the same commitment to customer service our heating and air customers enjoy. If you live in the Birmingham area, such as Calera, Mountain Brook, Chelsea, or Vestavia Hills, contact Douglas Cooling & Heating for your plumbing needs.

Comments are closed.