If your old hot-water heater has died, you will need to have a new one installed immediately. Since you are installing a brand-new hot-water heater, you may be tempted to install a tankless hot-water heater instead of going with a traditional tank. While you may have heard that one is better than the other, you really have to look at several factors to determine which one is best.
The Location of the Water Heater
Where your hot-water heater is located may determine if you can even get a tankless model. A tankless model needs ventilation to the outside of your house, which means it ideally needs to be installed on an exterior wall. This is often a problem if you do not have a basement and the hot-water tank was installed inside a closet on the first floor. You can make a tankless model work by running some pipes for ventilation, but it may not be cost effective to do so.
The Number of People in Your Home
Do you constantly find yourself running out of hot water because too many people are living in your home? This is because you are using more hot water than the tank is able to produce. As everyone is getting ready in the morning by taking a shower, the water use will gradually drain the tank of hot water. The tank won't necessarily become empty, but as cold water fills up the tank, you will notice that the hot water starts to get lukewarm.
If you have many people that love to shower in the morning, one after the other, a tankless model can solve this problem. It heats the water on demand, so you will never run out of hot water when you need it the most.
The Number of Bathrooms in Your Home
That said, a tankless hot-water heater could be problematic if you have multiple bathrooms in your home. A tankless hot-water heater is great at producing water on demand, but it has its limitations. If you have multiple people showering at the exact same time in two different bathrooms, you may find that a tankless model cannot keep up with demand. Both people will have diminished hot water when showering, but the water temperature will instantly go back to normal when one person stops using hot water.
In this situation, you may be better off installing a much larger hot-water tank. It will cause hot water to be ready for everyone, no matter when they want to use it.
For help installing either type of water heater, contact a local plumber such as All About Plumbing.