What is the Difference Between Hybrid and Tankless Water Heaters?

If it’s time to decide on a new water heater for your home, you have a lot to consider. There’s more to know than how many people your household has and how many appliances utilize hot water. Water heaters are available in different sizes, styles and use various power sources. Depending on the size of your household, your water demands and your budget, there is a water heater for you. When it comes to choosing a water heater, use this guide from the trusted San Antonio plumbers at Denny Plumbing to help you make an informed decision for your home.

Water Heater Options

Traditional water heaters are large storage tanks that keep 30-40 gallons of water heated at all times. They are an inexpensive option when it comes to purchase and installation but come with a high energy cost. There are other options for water heaters that are more cost-effective, more efficient and better for the environment.

Hybrid and Tankless Water Heaters

A hybrid water heater utilizes a water tank but does not use a gas-powered flame or internal electrical elements to heat the water. Instead, a heat pump sits atop the tank and uses the surrounding air to heat the water via a compressor and evaporator coil. This type of water heater can be up to three times more efficient than other electric models.

A tankless water heater does not require a storage tank and is often referred to as an on-demand water heater. The unit contains an internal heat exchanger powered by gas or electricity. When a tap in the house is opened, water is heated as it passes over the heat exchanger and travels directly to that tap or appliance. When the tap is closed, the unit shuts down, having supplied hot water only when it’s called for.

Cost Comparison

Hybrid water heater

  • Lower operating cost if electrical
  • Higher up-front cost compared to average tank model
  • Uses up to 50% less energy than traditional tank water heaters
  • Requires frequent, specialized maintenance

Tankless water heater

  • Lower operating cost if gas-powered
  • Requires installation investment
  • Possible additional expenses such as extra gas lines and a water softener
  • Over 20% more efficient than traditional tank models


Hybrid water heater

  • The most energy-efficient choice since it does not generate its own heat
  • Two to three times more efficient than traditional tank models

Tankless water heater

  • Heats water only when it is needed
  • More efficient than storing hot water at all times

Environmental Impact

Hybrid water heater

  • Pulls air from the surrounding area to heat water, making it the most energy-efficient model
  • Uses less than half the energy of a traditional storage-tank water heater

Tankless water heater

  • Provides hot water on demand instead of wasting resources heating a tank of stored water
  • Less water is wasted through the tap

Trust the professionals

While there are a lot of options and choices out there, a water heating system that’s perfect for your home exists. We hope this guide has armed you with a better understanding of what kind of investment you’re making, your family’s needs and how your choice affects the environment in the long run. When it’s time for a new water heater installation in your home, contact Denny Plumbing–We Do The Right Thing!

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