plumbing company San Diego CA
plumbing company San Diego CA

Water Heater Basics – San Diego Plumbers

Water heater San Diego CAFactors to consider in choosing a water heater

  • Fuel – Gas or electric
  • Water Storage – Tank or tankless
  • Function – Whole house or Point of Use

Water Heater Fuel Types
Most water heaters are fueled by gas or electricity. Refer to the table below to compare the differences between the two.


  • Requires a slightly larger up-front investment
  • Must be vented outdoors for safety
  • Units with sealed combustion or power venting increase safety
  • Usually cost less to operate
  • Not affected by power outages (tank-style only)


  • Generally cost less than gas models
  • Easy to maintain
  • Requires no combustibles or venting
  • Heats water quickly
  • Offer high energy factor ratings

Water Storage
Conventional tank water heaters store water in an insulated tank until it is needed. Tankless units do not store water but heat it by running it through coils. Each offer their own unique advantages, and you can compare features and benefits in the table below.

How a Water Heater Functions

Conventional Tank Water Heater
Stores constantly heated water inside the water heater tank of the unit.


  • Can be positioned in closet, basement or garage
  • Capacity ranges from 20 to 80 gallons
  • Efficiency varies between models, brands and fuel sources

Tankless Water Heaters

  • Heats cold water with a gas burner or electric element as it passes through the water heater
  • Require a larger up-front investment
  • Hang on wall and frees up floor space
  • Excellent option for residences occupied part-time
  • Reduce energy consumption by as much as 30%
  • Can run out of hot water during heavy usage
  • Requires ventilation


Whole House and Point of Use Water Heater Systems
Conventional tank water heaters are whole house systems that send hot water from the tank through the house to the point where you want hot water. Tankless water heaters are typically whole house systems as well, heating water as needed. Whole house systems can provide hot water to more than one fixture at a time. Depending on the size of your home and the number of fixtures, you may need to consider adding additional hot water heating capacity. Point of use systems are individual units that install directly under the sink or in a closet. These systems deliver instant hot water to a specific location. Point of use systems typically augment a whole house system when instant or additional hot water is needed.


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