The troops are quite polarized on the question of tank vs tankless water heaters. The tankless crowd argues economy, space saving, and never ending hot water. The rest of us point out the studies showing the very high cost of the tankless units, high cost of installation, high cost and frequency of necessary cleaning, the fact that in cold weather, you do not have the abundance of hot water claimed, and the need of increased electrically supply or larger gas mains in the cases of retro fitting. Studies show pretty conclusive evidence that tankless are more expensive in the long term. It is very unusual for a conventional water heater to just suddenly fall apart. When the tank begins to fail, is shows up in small leaks that do not result in an immediate flood. These studies show you can operate and replace a conventional water heater 3 or more times for the cost of a tankless with all factors considered. Tank life seems to depend a great deal on the quality of the water begin heated. Some areas have water that will destroy a tank in a few years while other places the tanks will last for many years beyond their life expectancy. My advice is to study both sides of this issue very carefully before plunging into the tankless.