The two most common types of water heaters are conventional and tankless. The benefits of conventional water heaters include a relatively low price tag, easy installation and maintenance, and a fairly long usable life of approximately 10 years. The drawbacks of conventional water heaters include higher operating costs and a limited supply of hot water as determined by the size of your tank.

Tankless water heaters offer the greatest energy efficiency, the lowest operating costs, and a lifespan of up to 20 years. Tankless systems also provide an endless supply of hot water, which is perfect for families with a high demand. The downside includes a higher purchase price and a more complicated installation process.

Both conventional and tankless water heaters run off your home’s gas or electric power. Models are also available that use alternative energy sources like solar power or a geothermal heat pump. Your local authorities can advise as to which options are available in your area as well as the applicable plumbing codes. Water heaters that use alternative energy may be more expensive to install, and fuel costs can vary depending on your area.