How Do Tankless Water Heaters Work?

Tankless water heaters, sometimes called instantaneous or on-demand water heaters, only heat water on an as needed basis. They’re known to help with energy savings and storage capabilities.

Understanding Tankless Water Heaters

Before you can understand how a tankless water heater works, it’s important to understand how a traditional water heater functions. A traditional water heater operates by holding a reserve of water inside its tank and keeping the reserve heated to a ready-to-use temperature. Traditional water heaters are often looked at as energy-hogs as they are continually heating the water, even when it isn’t being used; contributing to what is called standby heat loss.

Tankless systems provide on-demand hot water without the use of a reserve tank. Instead, a gas burner or electric heating element heats the water as it travels through the unit.

Benefits of Tankless Water Heaters

Since tankless water heaters are not continuously heating a reserve of water, they are only running when a demand is being placed on the unit. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, tankless water heaters are more than 24% – 34% more energy efficient than traditional water heaters in homes that use less than 41 gallons of hot water, daily. In homes that use around 86 gallons of water a day, tankless water heaters can be 8% – 14% more energy efficient.

What’s more, tankless water heaters last much longer than a traditional water heater. Where traditional water heaters are typically good for 10 years or so, tankless water heaters will last you another 5 to 10 years more.

Because there is no tank for storage, tankless water heaters are significantly smaller in size and take up much less space than it’s traditional counterpart. For homes with not a lot of storage or for water sources like a kitchen sink or utility room that requires a designated supply of hot water, the sizing options tankless water heaters offer is a great benefit.

Selecting a Tankless Water Heater

Tankless water heaters are available in electric, propane, or natural gas varieties. And you can select from two types of tankless water heaters: point of use and whole-house heaters. Point-of-use water heaters are great for small spaces like underneath the kitchen sink or outside by the barbeque.

For the whole-house variety, the amount of hot water used in your household should be considered as well as the frequency. If you have a large home where it takes a long time for water to travel from the heater to the point of use, if you want the ability to allow for simultaneous showers, or if you want to run the washer and the shower at the same time, you might benefit from multiple units. If you’re not sure which route is right for you, contact a trained specialist to help you make the best choice for your home and daily hot water habits.

If you’re considering a tankless water heater, and want to know more about your options, contact your local tankless water heater expert today!