By Al Schwartzberg, The Arizona Waterman

I’ve had an old-school attitude when it comes to water heaters. Your standard 40-to-50-gallon water heater is straightforward to install and while they’re not cheap, they are inexpensive compared to other options on the market. That’s how we did things when I started and that’s still generally how things are done in the US.

Here in the Old Pueblo, hard water means even a top-of-the line water heater will fill with sediment, lose efficiency, take longer to heat up, they run out of hot water sooner, and they start to leak in as little as 8-10 years. When their water heater needs to be replaced, many clients ask me if there is a better alternative. On paper, tankless instant hot water systems are the better option: they last longer, cost less money to operate, and they provide continuous hot water on demand. However, I’ve almost always steered clients away because the upfront cost can be many times higher than a traditional tank-style water heater.

Recently I found an excellent explanation of the various water heater technologies done by This Old House presenter Richard Trethewey. I encourage you to watch it so that the next time your water heater needs to be replaced you will be better able to consider your options:

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