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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Hot Water Heater Designs

When choosing a new water heater there are several types to choose from. Each offers advantages and disadvantages, here is a comparison, starting with the most popular water heater designs.

Storage Hot Water Heaters

Advantages

  • Available in a wide range of sizes
  • Inexpensive to purchase and install
  • Energy source gas or electric
  • Average EF rating 0.67

Disadvantages

  • Tank size has increased with NAECA standards, so installation requires more space
  • Limited supply of hot water during extended use
  • Can waste up to 15% of energy through radiant heat loss
  • Life expectancy of 10-15 years

Tankless Hot Water Heaters – On Demand Water Heaters

Advantages

  • Consume 20% to 30% less energy than storage tank models
  • Meets NAECA standards without increase in size or installation costs.
  • Take up less space, can be mounted on a wall
  • Very little standby energy waste
  • Virtually endless supply of hot water
  • Life expectancy of 20 or more years
  • Average EF rating 0.75

Disadvantages

  • Hot water flow rate is limited by the size of the unit
  • Typically more complicated and expensive to install
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