Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning Blog

Water Heaters

water heater

In truth, we can’t answer this question directly in this post. Why not?

It’s not because we don’t know our stuff, obviously. When you’re looking for a plumber in Loveland, CO, you know we’re the company to trust.

No, it’s because there is no one type of water heater that is right for every home or every homeowner.

What we can do in this post is to help you better understand both the pros and the cons of tank and tankless water heaters. That way, you can make an educated decision for yourself.  And, of course, you can always reach out to a member of our team with any questions that you may have.

So keep the following in mind, and let us know if you’re ready to invest in a new water heater for your home!


1. Initial Cost

The first thing that most homeowners are going to look at when investing in any new system for their homes is the price tag associated with those systems. And that price tag is what can send some budget-minded homeowners running to the tank water heater section.

There’s no getting around it. A tankless water heater is going to cost more to purchase.

That’s important phrasing, though. Because, yes, the upfront cost of a tankless water heater is more than a tank water heater. Much more, depending upon which models of each system you’re looking at. It’s also important that you keep in mind how long you plan to be in your home, because this brings us right into our next point.

2. System Lifespan

If you’re going to be in your home for the foreseeable future, and you’re the type of homeowner that likes to hang on to the items you purchase for as long as possible, then a tankless water heater definitely might make the most sense for you.

Your average tank water heater is likely going to last you about 12 years. Some go longer, of course, but that’s the average.

A tankless water heater, on the other hand, will typically last to—and beyond—20 years of age. That’s impressive, and it only grows more impressive when you consider this lifespan as it relates to our next point.

3. Energy Efficiency

This is the big one. Because tankless water heaters do not use hot water tanks to store water—they heat water in an on-demand fashion, instead—they aren’t subject to standby energy loss.

What’s that?

When you store hot water in a tank, some of that heat will inevitably transfer through the tank and into the cooler air surrounding it. Now, modern hot water tanks are more efficient than ever before. And they can be further insulated with insulating jacket materials. But, with the extensive lifespan of the tankless water heater, serious energy savings over additional years or projected lifespan can result in long-term returns, even if the initial investment is higher.

Have questions? We’re here to help!

Schedule your water heater services with Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. Big Enough to Serve, Small Enough to Care.


Water Heaters

Tank water heaters are probably what you’re most familiar with when we mention these systems. They’re large, noticeable, and oftentimes can be a bit noisy. This is the traditional water heater model found in most homes, so many people realize that they need maintenance from time to time.

Scaling is something that occurs in these systems and allows for a mineral buildup that clangs around noisily. This can actually hurt the system—casing problems with pressure, temperature, and potentially even corrosion. Tank water heaters need flushing on occasion to offset all this.

With this knowledge, you may be tempted to switch to a tankless model, and this is certainly worth your consideration. Tankless water heaters are highly efficient, work “on-demand” rather than storing hot water and risking standby energy loss, plus they save space! But, guess what? They need maintenance too.

Scaling Impacts Tankless Water Heaters

Scaling affects tankless water heaters too, not just tank systems. In fact, scaling can lead to a premature breakdown of this system if you don’t schedule regular maintenance so it can get checked out by a pro. Scaling happens when there’s hard water consistently going through your water heater.

Hard water is water that has a high level of minerals in it—namely calcium, magnesium, and sometimes even iron. These mineral deposits are absolutely harmless to ingest. However, if they’re left behind in appliances or pipes, we typically call that “scaling.”

Scaling impacts the heat exchanger of your tankless water heater. As you might realize, the heat exchanger is what heats up the water in the first place. You need it to be clean, so that the water can effectively and efficiently be heated. Scaling can make your burners work harder, or can overwork a tankless water heater to the point that it breaks down.

How Often Should You Schedule Maintenance?

For some tankless water heaters, annual maintenance is essential to keeping the system running smoothly throughout its lifespan. For others, maintenance can afford to wait a year or two longer. This timeframe depends on how hard the water is in your area, and if you’re currently doing anything to treat it.

The installation of a whole-house water softener, for instance, may be the answer to your hard water troubles. Your tankless water heater should still be checked regularly by a pro, but you may not need to worry about scaling so much if you have a whole-house water softener in place.

“When Does a Tankless Water Heater Need Replacing?”

Remember, even if you have your tankless system maintained on a regular basis, the system won’t last forever. Eventually, you’ll need to replace your system with a new one. The good news is, most tankless water heater systems last 20 years or more!

If your tankless water heater starts failing before this point, it could be from lack of professional water heater maintenance. Keeping up with this service is the only way to ensure your system lives out its full term.

Schedule your service for water heaters in Loveland, CO with Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. Big enough to serve, small enough to care.


We use a lot of different appliances and systems throughout the day in order to live our lives in a convenient and comfortable manner befitting the modern homeowner. Among these appliances is the water heater, and it is surely one of the most heavily used systems in any home. Every time that you take a hot shower, run your dishwasher, or do the linens, you are relying upon your water heater to provide you with an ample supply of effectively and efficiently heated water. That is why you should schedule your water heater services in Fort Collins, CO with us. We’ll make sure that you have the right water heater installed in your home, and that it continues to function well. Call Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning to get started.


Tank vs. Tankless

When most homeowners think of a water heater, they’ll first envision a tank system. These water heaters are probably still the most prevalent in the residential sector, and their great reputation is well-earned. Tank water heaters store a significant amount of hot water at all times in their storage tanks. This helps to ensure that you always have an ample amount of hot water when you need it. It also helps to prevent the water heater from being overwhelmed when hot water is called for at multiple fixtures throughout the house. Standby energy loss is an issue with such systems, though, as heat from the water transfers through the tank to the air outside. Standby energy loss is minimal when you have a well-insulated tank, but is never truly eliminated.

Unless, of course, you eliminate the use of a tank from the equation altogether. This is possible when you opt for a tankless water heater. Tankless water heaters forgo the storing of hot water, instead heating only the water that is needed, as it is needed. They are quite compact, taking up little room, and can be installed in small areas. However, they are also much more expensive to purchase than tank models, though this cost can be offset over time by energy savings. They may also be overwhelmed more easily in intsances of high hot water demand. Work with us to ensure that you have the right water heater for your home installed therein.


Hot water is a vital part of your daily life. Without your hot water heater working for you, it would be difficult to cook, wash dishes, do laundry, or keep yourself clean. If you take good care of your heater with regular maintenance and prompt repairs, you should have few worries about losing your hot water supply.

At Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning, our technicians have worked on water heaters in Wellington, CO, for many years. Below are three key components they repair and replace. These components are part of a gas-powered storage water heater, the kind found most commonly in homes. There are also electric and tankless water heaters, which operate differently.

3 Key Parts of a Water Heater

  • Sacrificial anode rod: A water heater contains metal in contact with water…the perfect recipe for corrosion and rust. But why doesn’t a water heater rust under normal conditions? It’s because of the sacrificial anode rod inside bolted to the top of the tank which then extends down into it. The anode rod does the job of stopping corrosive action from entering the tank by “sacrificing” itself to the corrosion instead. The anode rod must eventually be replaced when it corrodes completely, or else corrosion will begin to enter the tank. With regular maintenance for your water heater, the anode rod will get replaced in time.
  • Dip tube: This is where cold water enters the tank of a water heater and moves to where it will be heated from the gas burners. Because hot water rises, the cold water drops down the dip tube toward the lower part of the tank, over the burners.
  • Exhaust flue: The exhaust flue both removes the combustion gases from the burner unit, and helps to transfer heat from the gases to the water. The flue runs up through the center of the tank and then out the top where the gases are safely vented. It is crucial that the flue vents properly and isn’t blocked. Water heaters need professional care.

If you discover you’re losing hot water, you need to have a professional look at the water heater to find out what is wrong. You can’t do heating system repairs yourself, especially with a gas-powered unit, unless you have the proper training and tools.

You should also entrust the maintenance of your water heater to an expert. A yearly visit from a technician will make sure that all the components of your heater are working correctly, the exhaust is venting safely, and no corrosion has entered the tank because of a rusted anode rod. If there are any repairs needs, the technician will find them and you will be able to schedule repairs before your hot water supply is harmed.

Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning has served Northern Colorado since 1934. Call us today and schedule a service appointment for your next heating service in Wellington, CO, and trust us to take care of all the parts of your water heater.


When people think of water heaters, the image they conjure up is of a large water tank that stores a supply of hot water for use. However, these storage systems are not the only kind of water heater available today. More and more homeowners are opting to install on-demand water heaters, also known as tankless water heaters because they do not require the storage of water in a tank.

Tankless water heaters work through electrical elements that heat up water in the pipes as hot water is needed. When someone turns on a hot water faucet, the system heats water for immediate use. In general, tankless water heaters cost more to install than traditional storage systems, but they offer immense advantages that can outweigh the cost of the initial investment. Here are 3 of the main ones to consider.

If you have more questions about installing water heaters in Berthoud, CO, contact us at Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning.

Tankless water heater benefits

  1. No running out of hot water: A storage system has water ready when you need it—but it can also run out of hot water and require time to heat up another tank. All of us have experienced the discomfort of running out of hot water and getting stuck with a cold shower. But tankless systems do not have this trouble: they heat the water as you require it, so you won’t run out of hot water.
  2. Efficient energy use: This is where the tankless water heater begins to pay for itself. You only use energy to heat up water when you actually need hot water. The heating elements turn on when there is a demand for hot water. By contrast, a storage system must maintain constant heat to keep the water in the tank ready for use. Storage systems can use up to 20% more energy than a tankless system.
  3. Longer lifespan: Storage water heaters are at a greater risk from corrosion because they keep water constantly in a tank. They are also much larger than tankless systems and have more moving parts that can wear down. On average, a tankless water heater lasts 5 to 10 years longer than a storage water heater—another way that a tankless system will pay for itself.

Should you install a tankless water heater?

Although these are fantastic advantages, a tankless system might not be ideal for your home. Whether you get one or go for a storage system depends on your budget and water use. Tankless systems can have trouble heating up water fast enough, and will lose efficiency if too many taps are on at once. Talk to a water heater expert to find out if tankless is the right choice for you.

When it comes to installing, repairing, and maintaining water heaters in Berthoud, CO, you can trust to Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. We’ve served Northern Colorado for 80 years.


Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning Blog