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Water Heater

A functional water heater is a matter of necessity, rather than choice. It ensures a constant supply of hot water for day to day activities related to hygiene, cooking and cleaning. There are different types of water heaters and every type has both its pros and cons. If you need help choosing the right type for your home, you have come to the right place.

Here are some different types of water heaters and their benefits and drawbacks.

Conventional Tank Heaters

As the name suggests, a traditional tank heater has a tank that stores water to be heated. The capacity of a traditional tank water heater determines how much hot water is available at once (tank size typically ranges from 30-75 gallons).

A tank heater can be as tall as five feet or more and two feet or wider. A tank water heater is insulated to prevent heat from escaping. It has two valves- the pressure control valve and the temperature control valve.

When the temperature inside the water heater exceeds 120 degrees F, the temperature valve opens to release heat. Similarly, when the pressure reaches about 150psi, the pressure control valve opens to release the excess pressure.

Remember tank heaters take up a lot of space and are usually installed in basements, garages, and utility closets. Some tank water heaters are powered by gas, while others use electricity to heat water.

If you want to have hot water available on-demand, you need to keep your tank water heater running.

Maintenance Requirement

Water contains several minerals that can build up and form deposits at the bottom of a water heater’s tank. Tank water heaters need to be cleaned regularly (twice a year) to get rid of stubborn buildups. Regular cleaning improves water heater performance and adds years to the useful life of the water heater.

During a maintenance session, our technician will test the TPR valve, check the anode rod, adjust the temperature and drain the tank.


Tank water heaters are bulky and require more space than many other types of water heaters. Once all the hot water stored in a tank water heater is used, it may take hours to refill and reheat the water.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters or on-demand water heaters, employ advanced technology to heat and provide hot water only as it is needed. Unlike tank water heaters, they do not have tanks to store water. Instead, they have coils that heat water instantaneously.

Tankless water heaters come in different sizes. When deciding the size of water heater you need, consider your household’s size and hot water demand.

A larger tankless water heater needs more gas to run. If you choose a larger electric tankless water heater, you may have to upgrade your home’s electrical system to ensure your electrical heater gets enough electricity to heat your water adequately.

Maintenance Requirement

Clean your tankless water heater at least once a year to get rid of buildup and prevent corrosion. Cleaning a tankless water heater is usually more difficult than a traditional tank heater as it has smaller parts located in hard-to-reach areas.


Though a tankless water heater costs more upfront than a conventional tank water heater, its benefits far outweigh its cost.

Tankless water heaters are 24-34 percent more efficient than traditional water heaters as they only heat water on demand and can save you money on your energy bills.

With a tankless water heater, you will have hot water on demand. Because they do not use a tank, tankless water heaters take up less space and can be installed on a wall where other household equipment is kept (some such areas include a closet and laundry room).


Tankless water heaters take longer to deliver hot water than traditional water heaters and are also more expensive. If you are working on a tight budget, look for an affordable alternative.

With a tankless water heater, you won’t have access to hot water during a power outage and the water temperature will be inconsistent when multiple outlets are on simultaneously.

Solar Powered Water Heater

A solar-powered water heater uses solar energy to heat water. Roof-mounted solar panels transfer solar energy to a closed-loop system containing a heat conductive material, which heats the water in the tank

A solar-powered water heater can save energy on warm, sunny days, however, you will need to have a backup plan, so your system can continue to run on cloudy days.

Maintenance Requirement

A solar-powered water heater has a tank that should be periodically cleaned to remove scale. It is also imperative that you have a professional maintain your solar panels.


Solar water heaters are energy-efficient and eco-friendly. Sun offers clean and free energy. Why not use it to heat your water?


Solar water heaters are more expensive than many other types of water heaters. Sometimes it may take up to 40 years for homeowners to see a return on their investment. On cloudy days, a water heater may not work properly.

AVS Heating & Air Conditioning is a leading HVAC company near you in Virginia. We will help you weigh the pros and cons of different types of water heaters, paving the way for better decision-making. To learn more, call (703) 457-9028.