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Hot Water Tanks vs. Tankless Water Heaters: Which is Best for Your Home?

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Diving into the world of water heaters may seem daunting. However, if you’re picking out the best unit for your home, you may need a little bit more information than just who has the best tagline on their website.

Unsure of what the best water heater is for your home? No problem! Our team at Action Furnace is at the ready to help you find the perfect unit to match your needs and your budget.

Hot Water Tanks

Hot water tanks, or storage water heaters, are the most common water heaters you’ll find in homes across the country. There are two common types of hot water tanks, electric and gas, and the kind you have generally depends on the location of your home or the type of power your home draws energy.

Tanks also require more room than tankless water heaters. They often are found in their own room or with the HVAC system of your home.

How It Works

Water enters the tank through a dip tube connected to the waterline. As water is replenished, the water heats in one of two ways:

  • For gas hot water tanks, a gas burner turns on at the bottom of the tank. This burner warms up the bottom of the tank, heating the water. The exhaust the flame emits runs through a chimney in the center of the tank that leads out of your house’s ventilation system. A water-out pipe then transfers the water around your home.
  • Electric water heaters operate very much the same way as a gas water tank. However, instead of using a gas-powered flame, these tanks use electric elements at the bottom to heat the water.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each one, but for more of an in-depth look at both, check out our complete guide to basic hot water maintenance.

Control dial on a hot water heater


Action Furnace sells hot water tanks for only $1,746.00, including installation and labour! On top of this, we also offer a 5-year parts and labour warranty at no extra cost.

When compared to a tankless water heater, hot water tanks are more often the cheaper option to install, usually because most homes are fitted with a tank water heater anyways. The switch to a brand new water heater is easy and convenient.


When water is heated and stored, you’ll rarely see a problem with your water tank unless it needs maintenance

However, water tanks can run out of hot water, especially if your family has showers one after the other or if you’re running 2 or more water-demanding appliances in your home at the same time. Tankless water heaters don’t have this issue.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters are growing more in popularity with new homeowners looking for alternative ways to heat water in their homes efficiently. They require far less room to operate, often being mounted right on the wall either in your home or outside. 

While there are still the two common types of tankless water heaters, gas and electric, they operate the same way.

How It Works

As opposed to hot water tanks, tankless water heaters don’t have any storage system. Instead, water passes through an element that instantaneously heats the water, providing you with a seemingly endless stream.

This heater is perfect if you live in a large home with people always needing hot water or for people living in smaller homes with no space for the larger tanks.


Cost is probably one of the biggest detractors when it comes to deciding which tank is right for you. If your home isn’t already fitted with a tankless water heater, you may need to retrofit your plumbing to accommodate the new tank, which can be expensive.

However, this is only the upfront cost. Tankless water heaters run more efficiently than their tank counterpart and if the tank ever breaks down, they are cheaper to replace and far less labour-intensive compared to water tanks. You will need to make the decision yourself if the upfront costs are worth the savings you will make down the road.


Tankless water heaters can produce hot water at demand, no matter how much you’ve already used it. On top of this, tankless heaters are more efficient at producing hot water, which can save you money!

Tankless water heaters are also known for lasting for a long time (up to 20 years!) before needing severe repair or replacement.

Written by Ryan Tutak

Ryan is considered one of Calgary's most knowledgeable residential HVAC specialists. Working in the industry for over 12 years, he's helped thousands of homeowners with their heating and cooling systems. Outside of running Calgary's most reputable HVAC business, you can find him on the Golf course practicing his short game or traveling with his family. His main goal is to create a positive collaborative culture, one in which his employees are excited to come in and are motivated to work hard. He spends the majority of his day working directly with Home Comfort Advisors, Service and Maintenance Technicians, and Customer Service Representatives ensuring they are fully prepared to lead the Home Service Industry in Customer Service.

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