Make the Switch: The Benefits of an Electric Tankless Water Heater

Are you still using a traditional tank storage water heater? Although this conventional system gets the job done, it might not be the best choice for heating your water.

A tankless unit, specifically, an electric tankless water heater could actually reap the most benefits. Let’s explore what sometimes makes a tankless, AKA an on-demand water heater, a sometimes smarter choice over a storage tank system.

What’s the Difference Between a Conventional Storage & a Tankless Water Heater?

The concept is quite simple: conventional storage tank water heaters store water inside of a tank, which require maintaining a constant temperature of hot water. When the hot water is turned on in your house, the water travels to your faucet head at that existing warmth.

Tankless water heaters don’t store water— they provide hot water only when needed. When the hot water spicket is turned on, cold water travels through the pipe and triggers a flow sensors to heat it with a gas burner or electric elements.

A Few Reasons to Choose a Tankless System

There are some added perks to opting for a tankless instant water heater, but let’s explore them one-by-one to help you weigh your options.

Long-Term Cost & Energy Savings

When it comes to cost, we need to consider three different things when comparing water heaters: the costs of installation, annual maintenance and monthly electric.

A traditional storage water heater actually costs less upon initial investment, which could be a reason why some people haven’t made the switch to tankless yet. Electric storage tanks average around $750 while an on-demand unit costs an average of a little over $1,000.

Both types of water heaters should be serviced annually and have comparable maintenance costs, however, where you’ll really save is on your electric bill. While most conventional tank water heaters have chambers that are insulated to retain heat, you’re paying to keep a whole tank of water warm even when it’s not in use.

By heating water only when needed, tankless heaters can achieve greater efficiency than standard tank-type water heaters, according to ENERGY STAR. Quick tip: are you looking to save as much energy as you can? Check out our 9 Tips to Lower Your Energy Bills article.

Depending on the fuel types you’re using (both storage and tankless systems can be powered by electricity, natural gas or propane) you have the potential to save even more. For example, although gas-fired tankless water heaters tend to have higher flow rates than electric ones, an all-day burning pilot light could drive up costs.

This is why here at Southwest Florida Electric, we recommend using a electric heater. When comparing apples to apples, a conventional electric water heater with a tank typically uses 15-20% more energy than a tankless model.


Simply put, traditional water heaters are bulky, oftentimes around 60 inches tall by 24 wide. By comparison, tankless heaters are only about the size of a large microwave, typically around 28 tall by 20 wide. If space matters to you, tankless models are the more compact option.


Electric tankless heaters have the added benefit of lasting substantially longer than its tank-based counterpart, with tankles systems typically lasting up to 20 years while tank water heaters only 10-13.

For those who see themselves staying in their home for many years, the extra cost of a tankless system starts to pay off when considering their longer lifespans. Even if you can’t imagine yourself staying in your home for 20 years, even a decade of electricity costs add up quickly.

Make Sure You Have the BTU

BTU is unit of heat, and is the amount of heat required to raise raise one pound of water by one degree in temperature. Traditional water heaters typically require far less BTU, and in some homes with low pressures mains, you may be limited to a lower total BTU.

Interested in a tankless electric water heater but not sure if your electrical system can handle this new addition? We’re here to help.

Our expert team of electricians can help you access your home and make suggestions for the ideal water heater system for you. Simply contact us today.

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