October 26, 2022
By Mark Paup

Tankless vs. Traditional Water Heaters: Which is Best for Iowa Homes?

Updated January 18, 2024

Are you in the market to replace your water heater, but you’re debating which type to get? Both tankless and traditional tank water heaters have their pros and cons. Depending on your budget, home, and hot water needs, one will suit you better.

To help you decide which type of water heater you should install, we’ll break down common factors that might impact your choice:

  • Your budget
  • The available space in your home
  • Your family’s hot water preferences

With this information, you’ll better understand which is the best option for your home.

Get a Free Water Heater Estimate from Trusted Des Moines Metro Plumbers

Call Golden Rule at 515-393-4526 or contact us online to learn more about our tank and tankless water heater installations. We provide free upfront estimates, a 5-star customer experience, and convenient same-day service.

Your Budget

On average, a tankless water heater will cost more to install than a tank water heater but will cost less to operate in the long run. For example, a tank water heater will cost $2,500 to install. Meanwhile, a tankless installation will start at $5,000.

The most significant benefit of installing a tankless water heater is its long lifespan. Most tankless models last 15-20 years compared to the 10-15 years of tank models. Over the years, tankless water heaters also have lower maintenance and operating costs since they consume less energy. Since tankless water heaters don’t need to keep a tank of water constantly heated, they’re 24-34% more energy efficient than homes with tank water heaters, reducing the wear and tear on critical parts.

Available Space in Your Home

A tankless water heater is a great option if you have limited space in your home. Because they heat water as it flows through the unit, they don’t have a bulky tank. They’re much lighter and can be wall mounted inside a cabinet or small closet.

On the other hand, tank water heaters need to store anywhere from 30-80 gallons of water, so homeowners typically require a dedicated water closet to store them in. If your home is small and you don’t have a utility room, laundry room, or space to store a large tank, a tankless version might be the way to go.

Your Family’s Hot Water Preferences

When it comes to hot water usage, families typically take one or the other approach:

  • Running the same water appliance for a long period (for example, everybody showers one after another)
  • Running multiple water appliances at the same time but not for a long time (for example, using the dishwasher, washing machine, and shower all at once)

Take a week to observe your family’s habits and see how often you simultaneously run multiple water appliances or use the same water appliance for hours.

If you prefer to run a shower after another household member without losing hot water, a tankless water heater is the better option for your home. Gone are the days of fighting over who used up all the hot water during morning showers.

Tankless water heaters use high-powered burners or electric heating elements to quickly heat water when you turn on the hot water tap, providing a conveniently “endless” supply of hot water within seconds. However, tankless water heaters can only supply so much hot water at once because they work on demand. Running more than 1-2 appliances means the tankless water heater will struggle to support the demand, and the water temperature will drop.

On the other hand, a tank water heater is better if you want hot water for multiple appliances simultaneously but not extensively. These water heaters use natural gas burners or electric heating elements to heat water stored in a 30–80-gallon tank. You could run every single water appliance in your home, and a properly sized tank water heater will reliably provide hot water for them. Once the hot water runs out, you must wait for the tank to refill and heat back up.

Ready to Install a New Water Heater? Hire Reliable Plumbers Who Can Tackle Anything: Golden Rule Plumbing, Heating, & Cooling!

Call Golden Rule at 515-393-4526 or contact us online. Since 1999, we’ve served the Des Moines Metro community with respect and expertise. True to our name, we’ll always provide honest and reliable tank or tankless water heater recommendations to help you choose the right system for your home and budget. We also provide free upfront estimates and flexible financing options for your installation.

Contact Us Today for Plumbing Service!

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