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Ryan Bruss
11 months ago • Redmond
Tankless vs hot water tank
I'm in need of a new water heater and was thinking of converting to tankless, but I've heard some people haven't had a great experience. Does anyone have firsthand experience with both traditional tank and tankless water heaters?
12 replies
10 months ago
We have a tankless water heater now and haven’t had any issues with it. Two guests took extremely long showers as they said they’ve never had hot water last so long. So maybe that’s what people don’t like about the tankless ;) We had a traditional tank in Seattle and it was kind of a pain to drain it to get out any sediment that would routinely build up in it. Other than that and the space saving of a tankless, I think you’ll be fine going either route.
  • 11 months ago
Loved when we went tankless - unlimited hot water.
  • 11 months ago
Oh boy, I could say a lot about this one. I've lived in three houses with tankless, including a larger home that used dual tankless for domestic water and radiant heat. I wasn't happy with any of those three systems and one was a tremendous disaster. Challenges for tankless - anemic pressure and long delay when requesting hot water. Also google the "Cold Water Sandwich" which is a common experience when using tankless. The last time I used tankless, I basically gave up on getting hot water at the kitchen sink because it took over two minutes to get warm. Oh, and don't rely on a tankless system for radiant heat...

I'd go for the tank if possible. Sorta related, in my opinion the #1 best investment you can make for your hot water system is a recirculating pump. That'll have the largest impact on your happiness.
  • 11 months ago
Delay in hot water has more to do with distance of the sink, shower or bath from heating source and not what the source is. My recommendations on thankless is if you have gas connection for current tank then go with a gas thankless unit but to avoid an electrical unit one especially if it is for a whole house. I have had great experience with a Navien thankless water heater with my last home. Also always check out PUD if that is your energy provider for current rebates. Here is a current link to $500 instant rebate for a heat pump water heater
  • 11 months ago
Unfortunately my Navien experience a few years ago was a dud. Every time we came home from vacation the unit had crashed and needed a reboot. Since our house was using the Navien for radiant heat this was a real bummer in winter. It takes 36 hours to reheat the house after the tankless was rebooted. The thing was crashing every few days there at the bitter end.

It was like maintaining your grandparent's crappy old PC. I was constantly fielding calls from family members, "there is no hot water what do we do." Multiple motherboard replacements, firmware upgrades, thousands of dollars in service calls, and eventually we had to invoke the lemon laws.

Sounds like those units have improved, though. Hopefully they got their act together.
  • 11 months ago
We have a tankless. Had it installed by Green Planet Plumbing. It's been great. I love never running out of hot water - which if you have kids can be quite often. I would suggest you get a reciprocating pump, particularly if you have a two story home. We don't have the cold water sandwich problem either.
Plumber - West Seattle
  • 11 months ago
What’s your current tank? Heat Pump tanks, aka Hybrid electrics are efficient as gas tankless and there are tons of incentives. I have installed these myself in three of my properties and am delighted with the results. I also love having one less place to worry about gas leaks.

Here’s a post I did after installing the first one:
  • 11 months ago
Thanks Rob! Just yesterday I decided to do a heat pump tank. It saves me having to run an extra gas line since my current tank is electric. And, as you said, it's just as energy efficient as tankless.
  • 11 months ago
Cool! Which model are you going with? How are the costs working out?

It might seem intimidating but definitely can be done DIY if you can put in the time. Biggest difference from your current tank is that it will need a drain for condensation.

Where do you have current tank located right now? Basement or garage?
  • 11 months ago
I was looking at either A.O. Smith or Rheem. I like that the Rheem can send me info and is controllable from my phone. Location is in the garage. I need to move the location from the current by about 6 feet.
  • 11 months ago
Reach out if you need tips!
  • 10 months ago
We have tankless in our new home and had traditional tank in our previous. The biggest advantage to tankless is unlimited hot water! The only downside is some of the fixtures further away from the tank can take a couple minutes to reach "hot." One advantage to having a traditional tank is that you have drinkable water on hand in case of disaster.
  • 10 months ago

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