How does a tankless hot water heater work?

How does a tankless hot water heater work?
November 3, 2015 Lorelie


Advantages and Setbacks of Going Tankless

In the event that you're taking into consideration making the switch to a tankless water heater, you should thoroughly weigh the pros and cons to start with.


  • Smaller sized units can be installed under cabinetries or in a closet, closer to the point of use.
  • Most tankless units come with a federal tax rebate of $300.
  • They're more effective with no temporary heat loss.
  • They never run out of hot water.
  • Electric units don't generate greenhouse gases.
  • They last five to 10 years much longer than tank heating systems.
  • There's no possibility of water damage as a result of to a ruptured tank.
  • They consume up a lot less space and can even be set up on wall structures or outsides with an anti-freeze kit.
  • You can cut as significantly as 20 percent from your water heating bill.
  • They only need enough energy to heat the amount of water necessary at any given minute.
  • Many units are operated by remote control and have up to four separate configurations offered.


  • Gas-powered units yield greenhouse gases.
  • They was priced at up to three times as a lot as a tank water heater.
  • One may need to have to add a bigger natural gas line to supply the unit with enough fuel.
  • Your hot water outcome is split among all your household installations.
  • Electric models require a lot of energy.
  • Venting gas and propane units demands expensive stainless steel tubing.
  • Electric models may call for an added cycle.
  • They require a least flow rate of.5 GPM in order to activate the heat exchanger.
  • Gas units call for the additional expense of an annual servicing.
  • Lag time can need you to run your water in order to get to the hot water, raising water waste.

Other Factors:

  • Natural gas is much less pricey now, but expected to go beyond electricity in the coming years.
  • Water heating accounts for about 20 percent of your home energy budget.
  • A standard bathtub holds concerning 35 gallons, soaking tubs hold between 45-80 gallons.
  • A whole-house electric model charges $500-$700.
  • Electric models are normally less expensive to set up than gas.
  • A whole-house gas model sets you back $1,000-$2,000.

Tankless Systems

In order to comprehend how a tankless water heater functions, it's crucial to recognize how a standard tank heater operates. In a traditional heater system, there's a large tank that holds and heats water. In order to provide you warm water whenever you need it, the tank constantly heats the clean water to maintain a steady temperature. The energy used to maintain the water hot even whenever it's not being used is knowned as standby heat loss. You can get more info about tank heating systems in How Water Heaters Work.

Tankless systems stay clear of stand by loss by heating incoming water simply as you need it-- they're also knowned as to as "on demand" water heaters for this reason. The removal of the standby heat loss is what produces a tankless unit more efficient, but we'll get to that in more detail a little later.

In order to acquire you that piping-hot shower when you want it, a tankless water heater uses a powerful heat exchanger to raise the temperature. A heat exchanger is a device that moves heat from one source to another. There are heat exchangers in your air conditioner, refrigerator and car radiator. In this case, it transmits heat generated by electric coils or a gas-fired burner to the water that comes out of your faucet. This exchanger is turned on by the inbound flow of water. So when you turn on your hot water tap, the incoming water spreads through the activated exchanger, which warms the cold water to your predetermined temperature. All you require then is some soap and shampoo and you're ready to wash, rinse and repeat.

Tankless designs offered in two assortments-- point-of-use heaters and whole-house heaters. Point-of-use devices are small and only heat water for one or two outlets-- say, your kitchen sink. Due to the fact that of their size, they can suit below a cabinet or in a closet. They're advantageous due to the fact that they can be installed closer to your outlet and prevent water loss as a result of to lag time. Lag time is the volume of time it consumes for the hot water to get to your faucet. In large houses, the lag time can be substantial, occasionally as long as several minutes. This indicates that while your water heating bill may be going down, your water usage will be going up, which is something you should consider when debating regardless if or not to go tankless. Whole-house systems are larger, more pricey and can operate more than one outlet at a moment.

With tankless water heaters, you can decide on from electric, propane or natural gas models. Point-of-use models are generally electric, while whole-house systems are usually powered by possibly natural gas or propane. Which in turn model to go with and what heating source you should use depends on many different factors. We'll take a closer seem at those factors in the next section so you can make an educated decision when it returns time to buy your tankless heater.

The most convenient way to explain it is to compare it to a conventional water heater. A regular water has a relatively small burner and stores a supply of heated water so that when you need it, it's there. A tankless heater has a VERY big burner by comparison with no storage at all. It warms the water as it is required.

Tankless heaters require a very great water supply to operate properly. This means both of these in pressure and in volume. If you are taking out a traditional water heater and placing in a new tankless one you will possibly have to replace the gas lines in the home to handle the much boosted fuel as needed of the new heater. They are also more difficult to vent in a lot of instances so not every home is competent of having a tankless heater set up. Ensure you thoroughly read the certified installment and operating instructions just before you acquire one to produce sure you will be able to securely and legally install it.

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