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water heater, tankless vs tank, propane vs electric

6 years ago

I searched GW for this topic, read through pages and pages of threads and I'm still confused. I don't understand the technical talk on the debates for each side and need to decide ASAP what's best for our house. Just when I think I have a decision made, I read something that changes it. From what I'm gathering, many people like tanks because they're simple, easy to repair if needed, and less expensive upfront. People dislike them because they take up a lot of space and can run out of hot water when people are using hot water simultaneously. People seem to like tankless water heaters because the hot water is unlimited, they take up less space, and are the "future" of water heaters. They seem to dislike them because they're more expensive, are complicated to fix, and don't always work out the way people expected them to or how they're used to using a WH.

We live in E. Tennessee where the climate is moderate but we tend to have ice storms that cause power outages in winter. We are a family of 4-two adults, a teenager, and a baby. We have relatives come visit often and may soon have a family member or 2 staying with us for an extended period. We have 3 bathrooms with plumbing roughed in for 1 more in the basement. Basement is unfinished but has a large designated mechanical room so space is not an issue. We have a propane tank for the cooktop which is large enough to also use for a WH.

Our GC suggested a good ole large capacity tanked electric WH. I trust him but I also realize that he's been doing this for 40 years and he goes with what he knows and trusts. He said if we went tankless we should go propane instead of electric because of how much power it would use. He mentioned putting something under the sink of the 2nd floor bathroom to help the hot water heater distribute water faster/more efficiently from the basement upstairs. He didn't use a name for it but I'm thinking maybe he was talking about a circulator?

Anyway, any input would be greatly appreciated!! Need to buy soon so we can move in.