Pina Plumbing, Inc.

Residential Plumbing in Marin County | License #1011774 | Bonded & Insured | (415) 570-1054 |

Water Heating

50 Gallon tank water heater garage installation, complete with catch pan and hot water recirculating pump.

So, it is time to replace your existing water heater. Let’s look at the pros and cons of the water heater Pina Plumbing will install for you.

Tank Water Heaters

marin county water heater

Tank water heaters are by far the most popular way of heating water. Each year, they get more and more efficient, utilizing different methods to cut down on wasted energy when heating water. Tank water heaters for residential applications come in 30, 40, 50, 75 and 100 gallon sizes. A typical four-person household could sneak by with a 40 gallon water heater, but a 50 gallon would be comfortable for you, especially if you have teenagers living in your house.

Traditional tank water heaters use a heat source at the bottom of the unit (the “burner”) to heat water. The hotter water rises to the top of the unit, and when the thermostat (located towards the bottom of the unit) detects that the whole tank is at the desired temperature, it shuts off. When the water in the tank drops below the desired temperature, the thermostat triggers the burner, and it heats the water again. This way of heating water works fine, but it is not the most efficient.


-Tank water heaters are generally less expensive to install and replace. The traditional tank water heater is relatively cheap these days, and installation (or replacement) typically takes between 4 and 6 hours.

-They are easy to swap out, so if yours fails overnight, (and you can reach your plumber), you can typically have a new one installed the next day.

-Depending on your model, you will have anywhere between 30 to 100 gallons of potable water stored in the tank which means when the zombie apocalypse happens, you’ll have plenty of fresh drinking water.


-Tank water heaters take up lots of space, and are not easy to move.

-You are constantly heating x amount of gallons, regardless of whether or not you are using hot water. This means that the water heater is running 24/7/365 and you might be wasting lots of gas and/or money cooking water while you are at work or on vacation.

Tankless Water Heaters

A Rinnai Tankless Water Heater

A Rinnai Tankless Water Heater

Tankless water heaters, although not as popular as your traditional tank water heater, are really beginning to take off. People are realizing the benefits of this amazing technology, and slowly (but surely) making the switch. Each year, tankless water heaters are developed to be more effective. One of the major turn-offs in the past was the typical tankless water heater’s demand for excess gas. However, in recent years, manufacturers have begun developing tankless water heaters that operate using the existing gas line that was supplying the old tank water heater. If you can’t tell, I’m a big fan of tankless water heaters.


-Tankless water heaters are, in my opinion, the way of the future. Unlike traditional water heaters, they only heat water when you are using it; on demand. When you are not using hot water, the unit shuts off, saving energy. They are very efficient.

-SIZE! Tankless water heaters can be installed in the interior or exterior of the house; the typical tank water heater is only about two feet long, a foot and a half wide and 8 to 12 inches deep. Imagine all that extra closet space you’ll get when you replace your tank with a tankless!

-Teenager Proof: Tankless water heaters create water on demand. Essentially, this means endless hot water. So no more rationing hot water or timing showers. Everyone can take a shower for as long as they want because you are not limited by a tank full of hot water. (Note: even though you can take a longer shower, remember that water conservation is still a very important factor.)


-Upfront cost. Tankless water heaters are more expensive to install and replace. Their price tag is higher than tank water heaters (sometimes, almost double), and the cost of installation is higher because sometimes the existing gas line supplying the water heater must be upsized.

-Added venting requirements means that if you are doing an interior install, you will most likely need to modify the existing venting system. Tank water heaters use regular metal flu vent pipe out the roof or side of the building. Tankless water heaters utilize a venting system all of their own, and you may have higher installation costs. Alternatively, tankless water heaters can be installed on the exterior of buildings, in which case no venting is required. This not only puts the unit outside in the event that it leaks, but is the most efficient venting system.

-Hot water on demand, not instant hot water. Lots of clients are confused about this, so I will explain. Many people who contact me with questions regarding tankless water heaters are under the impression that installing an on demand water heater (tankless water heater) means that they will have instantaneous hot water at every fixture. Although the unit itself creates hot water instantly, it still takes time for that hot water to travel from the water heater, through the pipes, to the destination point (i.e. a faucet or shower.) However, you can purchase tankless models with built-in recirculating pumps that will constantly move hot water through the house so you are not wasting water while waiting for hot water to arrive.

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