Types of Water Heaters

Types of Water Heaters

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There are 5 main types of water heaters available to the common public. Each type has it’s own pros and cons, but the most common for residential purposes are tankless and tank water heaters – gas & electric. Additional types of water heaters, but less common are condensing, solar, or heat pump water heaters. We discuss the two most common below.


Tankless are a type of water heater that use minimal space and offer “on-demand” hot water. To clarify, these can be installed under kitchen sinks or in specific bathrooms to offer “endless” hot water. Tankless water heaters can use gas or electricity for power. Gas usually cost less to operate, but the term usually should be used lightly as there are many factors that can affect the expense. Highly efficient homes with solar panels can provide “free” hot water. However, to operate multiple water sources at the same time can affect the the maximum temperature. Lastly, installation and the price of the unit can be prohibitive to some property owners, although there is usually longer term savings.

Storage Tank

Storage tank water heaters are still the most common type of water heater. Homes in the South can have “water closets” in the garage where freezing temperatures rarely occur. In the colder states, you will often find a storage tank water heater installed in a basement or utility room. Similar to tankless, these units can be powered by gas or electricity. Storage tank water heaters store up water and keep it warm while it is not being used. Once the hot water is activated, the hot water begins leaving the tank while the water heater begins replenishing itself. Hot water tanks usually come in 20, 30, or 50 gallon sizes and can provide hot water for up to 25 minutes. 

What should you get?

The answer nobody likes is that it depends. Do you need:

  • Unlimited hot water? May be nice if you have a bigger bathtub or large family
  • Limited space? If so, tankless may be your only option, but it will cost more upfront
  • Need multiple faucets operating at once? Tankless may struggle to keep up with the demand

As always, when dealing with electrical or gas pipes, Service Restoration recommends hiring a plumber or electrician to install the unit. 

What to know

  • Perform annual maintenance to avoid settlement buildup and avoid rusting out the bottom
    • Hiring a professional can ensure proper maintenance
  • Improper installations can mean exposed electrical wires, gas leaks, or water damage
  • Rebates – high efficiency units often qualify for rebates. Make sure to submit yours to save some money.
  • Know where your water supply is and create a game plan if you’re going on vacation
  • Installing a moisture detection alarm can help avoid significant water damage
Types of Water Heaters - Failing Water Heater Leaked Out The Bottom

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