Hot Water Tanks Vs. Tankless Water Heaters: Which One is Right For You?

Chances are, your home’s hot water is being provided by a hot water tank right now. But over the last few years, tankless water heaters have been getting more and more attention. This is due to their promise of “endless hot water”, lower energy bills, and government incentives .(a FortisBC rebate of up to $1000 is currently available)

But which one is right for you? That depends on several factors, such as your budget and hot water requirements.

Hot Water Tanks Vs Tankless Water Heaters

Energy Efficiency

Unlike a hot water tank, which stores a lot of hot water and heats it slowly over time, a tankless system heats up the water as you use it. Since water isn’t always being heated up even when none is being used, they are more efficient.

According to a recent CMHC study, tankless water heaters use 46% less energy than hot water tanks on average. However, with the current low price of natural gas, it will take over 10 years for the additional cost of a tankless water heater to be recovered.

Hot Water Availability

Although tankless water heaters never run out of hot water, they can only provide so much at one time. It takes a lot more power to heat up water instantly than it takes to do it gradually, and only higher end tankless units have the capacity to provide hot water for multiple showers or appliances simultaneously.

Tankless units also don’t provide hot water as quickly. Whereas a hot water tank can supply hot water in a few seconds, it typically takes about 20 seconds for tankless units to heat up water. In some cases, it can take as much as a minute. A few newer models keep a small store of hot water to eliminate this problem.

Life Expectancy

Hot water tanks are usually constructed of non-stainless steel and do not last particularly long. According to an Appliance Magazine survey, the average gas hot water tank lasts for 9 years.

Tankless systems are made of corrosion-resistant materials such as stainless steel or copper, and are expected to last about 20 years. Howerver, tankless systems have higher maintenance requirements.

Installation Cost

Basic gas hot water tanks can be replaced for less than $1500 in most homes. High efficiency, rebate-qualified tankless systems usually cost more than $4500. This is due to both the higher cost of the unit and the necessary installation of the new venting, gas lines, water lines, and drainage that may be required by a tankless system.

FortisBC Rebates Available

As of 2020, you can get a $1000 Fortis BC rebate when you install a high efficiency tankless water heater (conditions apply). You can also get $200 back when you install an Energy Star hot water tank.

This blog post is presented by Good Guys Heating. Visit the Good Guys at





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