Choosing The Right Water Heater

Household gas boiler on blue background 3d illustration

Choosing The Right Water Heater


By: Kathryn Hyer


The average family uses anywhere between 28 to 56 gallons of hot water per day. With all of this water usage, perhaps one of the most important and overlooked appliances is the water heater. No one seems to notice the water heater until it breaks, leaving you with nothing but cold water, and a broken heater to replace.

Hot water heaters in Idaho are a must have, especially during those cold winter months. There are two types of water heaters you can have in your home, a traditional tank heater, or a modern tankless heater. Knowing the pros and cons of these two types of water heaters will assist you in choosing the right water heater for you and your home.


Traditional Water Heaters

Traditional tank heaters store anywhere between 30-50 gallons or water. The preheated water is used whenever someone does the laundry, washes dishes or showers. Once the water is used, the tank refills and reheats again.

  • Lower installation cost– Installation of a storage heater unit costs nearly half that of a tankless unit.
  • Inexpensive unit to replace– Storage heater units are less  expensive than tankless, making them a viable option for those on a tight budget.
  • Size– The large size of these heaters require more floor space, and can’t be placed outside.
  • Limited water usage– The water in the tank is the only hot water available. Once it’s gone, it’s goodbye hot water and hello cold showers. This happens often with larger families or frequent usage.
  • Short lifespan– Tank water heaters have a lifespan of 10-15 years, nearly half the lifespan of its counterpart. This means replacement will be needed more frequently.
  • Higher utility bill– Because water is being continuously heated, energy costs for traditional water heaters are higher than that of tankless water heaters.


Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters use a heat source, usually electricity or gas, to warm up water on an as-needed basis, instead of storing hot water. The water is run through a pipe connected to the heater, where it is heated instantly.

  • Unlimited hot water– Never running out of hot water means never having to take a cold shower again. This is a luxury one could easily get used to.
  • Lower cost overall– Tankless water heaters tend to be 24%-34% more energy efficient than storage tank heaters, saving you money in the long run.
  • Small size– The small size of these units allows them to be placed basically anywhere, even outside.
  • Longer lifespan– The average lifespan of a tankless water heater is 20+ years, making it last twice as long as a traditional storage heater.
  • Higher installation cost- These units can cost up to twice as much to install compared to traditional heaters, depending on the model and distributer, costing you more upfront.


 Which Water Heater Should You Choose?

Choosing the right water heater for you depends on your budget and lifestyle. If you’re in a large family that uses a lot of water, you may want to consider a tankless heater, so as to never have to worry about running out of hot water. Tankless heaters cost more initially, but will save you money in the long run.

A traditional heater may be the better option for you, though, if you have a limited income and are in need of something fast. Keep in mind, however, traditional water heaters do end up costing more in the long run.

While both tank and tankless water heaters have their pros and cons, neither of them are perfect. Mathews Plumbing and Heating is here for you when things go wrong. Our specialized technicians are the experts on hot water heaters in Idaho, and are trained to inspect and maintain them to ensure your comfort. Give us a call at 208-357-3439 for all of your water heater needs, and we would be happy to assist you.