Tank vs. Tankless Water Heaters: The Ultimate Buying Guide

Enbridge Thermostat Rebate


As a homeowner, choosing the right water heater for your home is essential for comfort, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. With various options available in the market, understanding the differences between traditional tank-based water heaters and modern tankless systems is crucial. In this in-depth article, we'll compare tankless and traditional water heaters, outlining their key features, benefits, and drawbacks to help you make an informed decision when it comes to upgrading or replacing your existing unit.

Traditional Tank-Based Water Heaters

Traditional tank-based water heaters store and heat a large volume of water in an insulated tank, typically ranging from 30 to 80 gallons. When a hot water tap is turned on, hot water from the top of the tank is delivered to the faucet, while cold water enters the bottom of the tank to be heated for future use. These water heaters can be powered by natural gas, propane, electricity, or oil.

Pros of Traditional Tank-Based Water Heaters

Lower Initial Cost

The upfront cost of a traditional tank-based water heater is generally lower than a tankless system, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious homeowners.

Easy Installation

Traditional water heaters are relatively simple to install and can usually be replaced with a similar unit without requiring significant changes to existing plumbing or gas lines.

Cons of Traditional Tank-Based Water Heaters

Limited Hot Water Supply

The amount of hot water available is restricted by the tank's capacity, which can lead to running out of hot water during periods of high demand.

Energy Inefficiency

Traditional water heaters continuously heat and reheat water in the storage tank, leading to standby energy loss and higher utility bills.

Larger Footprint

These units require significant space due to their large storage tanks, which can be a challenge for homes with limited space.

Shorter Lifespan

Traditional water heaters typically last 10-15 years, which is shorter than the average lifespan of tankless systems.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters, also known as on-demand or instant water heaters, heat water directly as it flows through the unit, eliminating the need for a storage tank. When you turn on a hot water tap, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit, where a gas burner heats the water instantly. As a result, tankless water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water, ensuring that you never run out.

Pros of Tankless Water Heaters

Energy Efficiency

Tankless systems only heat water when it's needed, reducing energy consumption by up to 30% compared to traditional tank-based water heaters.

Space-saving Design

Tankless water heaters are compact and can be mounted on a wall, freeing up valuable floor space in your home.

Longer Lifespan

The average lifespan of a tankless water heater is approximately 20 years, compared to 10-15 years for traditional tank-based systems.

Unlimited Hot Water Supply

With a tankless water heater, you'll never run out of hot water, as the system provides an endless supply.

Lower Long-term Costs

Though the initial cost of a tankless water heater may be higher than a traditional tank-based system, the long-term savings outweigh the upfront expense due to their energy efficiency and extended lifespan.


Tankless water heaters contribute to a greener environment by reducing energy consumption and lowering greenhouse gas emissions.


Some regions offer rebates and tax credits for installing energy-efficient tankless water heaters, which can offset some of the upfront costs. For example, under the Enbridge Home Efficiency Rebate (HER) program, homeowners can receive a $400 rebate to help upgrade to a tankless water heater, making the switch even more affordable and attractive.

Easy Maintenance

Tankless systems generally require less maintenance than traditional tank-based water heaters, as they do not suffer from issues like sediment buildup or tank corrosion.

Cons of Tankless Water Heaters

Balancing Initial Costs with Simply Smart Flex Plans: While tankless water heaters generally have a higher upfront cost compared to traditional tank-based systems, Simply Smart Home is here to help. We understand that the initial expense can be a concern for homeowners, which is why we offer Flex Plans to make upgrading to a tankless water heater easy and affordable. With our flexible financing options, you can enjoy the benefits of tankless technology without the stress of a large upfront payment.

Installation Complexity: Installing a tankless water heater may require additional work, such as upgrading gas lines, which can increase the installation cost. However, Simply Smart Home can send a technician to examine your gas lines and provide a free, no-obligation quote to ensure a seamless and cost-effective installation process.

In conclusion, when considering the pros and cons of tankless water heaters, homeowners should weigh the long-term benefits of energy efficiency, space-saving design, and an unlimited supply of hot water against the higher initial cost and more complex installation requirements. With Simply Smart Home's Flex Plans, upgrading to a tankless water heater has never been more accessible and affordable, making it an attractive option for homeowners looking to invest in a more energy-efficient and eco-friendly home heating solution.

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