Ottawa Water Heater Comparison

Hot Water Tanks vs Tankless Water Heaters

An advanced HVAC technician inspecting a hot water tank and furnace

Which Type of Water Heater Should I get?

Nobody likes having a hot shower suddenly going cold, high energy bills, or unforeseen maintenance and repair costs. That’s why choosing the right hot water heater is an important step for getting your home set up for your needs. While we might take it for granted, hot water is a vital part of a comfortable lifestyle. Your home needs hot water for washing dishes, washing clothes, bathing, cooking, cleaning, and so much more. That’s why you want to make sure you make sure that you choose wisely when getting a water heater for your home.

Making the right choice will ensure that you always have a steady supply of hot water, lower energy bills, and peace of mind. So – should you get a traditional water tank or a tankless water heater? Keep reading to find out which solution works best for you.




How Water Heaters Work

Hot Water Tanks
Storage tanks heat and store water with a capacity depending on the size of the household you have and how much water you use. Water is heated two ways – either by a flame at the bottom of the tank which sends hot air through a chimney in the heater and transmits heat to the water or by an electric element. Storage tank heaters can use a variety of fuels, such as:

  • Natural Gas
  • Fuel Oil
  • Electricity
  • Propane

Tankless Water Heaters
As the name suggests, tankless water heaters do not store water in a tank. Tankless water heats water in your home using a water exchanger which quickly and reliably brings it up to temperature. Like water storage tanks, tankless water heaters can use a variety of fuels, such as :

  • Electricity
  • Propane
  • Natural Glass
a water heater undergoing maintenance
A woman adjusts the temperature of a water heater

Water Heater Sizes

Hot Water Tanks
Storage tanks can be 5 feet or taller, and about two feet wide. This might not be an issue if you have lots of room in your basement, but if you don’t it can be a tight fit elsewhere in your home. If you are upgrading to an older water storage tank for a newer one, it might take up more space due to added insulation to stay compliant with energy regulations.

Tankless Water Heaters
Due to the fact that they do not rely on a tank to store heated water, tankless water heaters are much smaller. They vary in size, but are on average about 2 feet tall and about a foot wide. Because tankless water heaters don’t take up so much space, they can be more discreetly placed in a number of places. Tankless water heaters are extremely popular in Europe where they are called combi-boilers. They are popular because they don’t take up valuable square footage and can be hung on the wall of a utility closet, the kitchen, in an airing cupboard, and many other places.

Furnace Installations

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JohnWood Water Heaters

  • Industry leading brand.
  • Options from 30 to 120 Gallons.
  • Energy star models.
  • Excellent Warranties.

Bradford White Water Heaters

  • Wide range of water heaters from basic to multi-purpose combination tanks for radiant floors.
  • Option from 30 to 120 Gallons.
  • Various Energy Star rated models.
  • Excellent warranty coverage on all models.

Water Heater Prices

Hot Water Tanks
Hot water tanks are less expensive to buy up-front than tankless water heaters. The technologies used are more simple, and installation is a bit more straight-forward.

Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters cost a bit more up-front; due to the more advanced technologies deployed in the units, and the fact that installation is a bit more of an involved process. The up-front price should not be the only thing taken into consideration when calculating the true cost of one water heater vs another. Efficiency levels, cost of maintenance, and longevity should also be factored into your calculation of which hot water heater is more affordable.

An Advanced HVAC technician works on a hot water heater
A woman enjoying an endless supply of hot water in the shower

Water Heater Efficiency Levels:

Hot Water Tanks
In recent years, hot water tanks have become increasingly efficient. This is due to improvements in design and manufacturing, as well as changing regulations with regards to energy efficiency. This means that hot water tanks have become better at heating water and keeping it warm. Even with improved efficiency, hot water tanks still have a fundamental efficiency problem – they store heated water which requires energy, despite improvements in efficiency and insulation.

Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters run more efficiently than conventional hot water heaters using the same fuel type. This higher efficiency means that the operating costs are lower, helping to offset the increased up-front cost of upgrading to a tankless water system. Natural gas tankless water heaters are generally cheaper to run than electric water heaters, however this is due to the fact that natural gas is a cheaper energy source. Electric water heaters actually run more efficiently, though they are slightly more expensive to run due to the higher costs of electricity.


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tankless water heaters


  • Endless hot water.
  • Up to 96% Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency.
  • Various models and sizes available.
  • Easy maintenance.
  • Once registered, receive 5 year limited warranty on parts and labour and 12 year limited warranty on the heat exchanger.

Water Heater Maintenance and Durability

Hot Water Tanks
Hot water tanks require regular annual maintenance. While some people get away with not maintaining their hot water tanks, neglecting your hot water tank will reduce its lifespan, negatively impact its efficiency, and make it less safe. You can expect your hot water tank to last between 8 to 12 years.

Tankless Water Heaters
Like hot water heaters, tankless water heaters also require regular annual maintenance. All mechanical devices and equipment need regular maintenance for optimal longevity and efficiency and a tankless water heater is no different. Neglecting to get your tankless water heater maintained will result in a more significant drop-off in efficiency compared to tankless water heaters. Tankless water heaters can last up to 20 years with proper maintenance, making them much more durable and long lasting compared to hot water tanks.

An Advanced HVAC technician installing a tankless water heater
A hot water tank and water heater

Which Water Heater Should I get?

Hot Water Tanks
The decision of which water heater to get depends on your individual needs and circumstances. Traditional hot water tanks are more affordable up front, and have slightly less maintenance demands.

A hot water tank is likely the better choice if:

  • You have a tight budget, and every penny up front counts
  • You are generally home all day, and will be using water as it is heated – around the clock
  • There are only a few people people living in your home
  • You have enough space in your basement to store a hot water tank
  • You don’t plan on staying in your home long-term

Tankless water heaters have much lower energy costs, have no limits on how much hot water you can use, and many qualify for government rebates. They also take up less space in your home, are much less likely to flood, and have a lifespan that is twice as long as hot water tanks.

A tankless water heater is probably the better choice for you if:

  • You are not home all day
  • Saving space is important
  • You have a lot of people in your home
  • Preserving resources and the environment is important to you.

If you are still unsure about which kind of hot water heater to get, contact the experts at Advanced HVAC today. We will help you make the right choice for your home!




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