When you picture a water heater, the first thing you probably think of is its tank. A conventional water heater’s tank holds contains its heating components and a reserve hot water for when you need it. The tank is the part of the fixture that needs the most maintenance. If your water heater breaks down, chances are the tank is the problem. A water heater’s tank even defines the life span of the fixture; generally, when the tank goes, the heater goes.
So, given how important a water heater tank is, how would a tankless water heater even work? How could you be sure you’d get hot water when you need it? Tankless water heaters sound like a strange concept, which is why we put together this FAQ blog. Here’s everything you should know about tankless water heaters for the next time you need to replace an old tank.
What is a Tankless Water Heater?
Tankless water heaters are a type of water heater designed to provide hot water without needing a large storage tank. They’re sometimes called “demand-type” or “instantaneous” water heaters as well.
Conventional water heaters use their tanks to heat up water in advance and store it for when you need it. Tankless water heaters only heat water as necessary. They don’t need to “reserve” hot water in advance, which means they don’t need a tank.
How do Tankless Water Heaters Work?
When you turn on a hot water tap, cold water from your home’s water supply flows into the tankless heater on its way to you. When the heater senses water pass through it, it activates either a gas burner or an electric element in the unit itself.
The gas or electric element heats the water directly as it passes through the unit. When the water reaches you, it’s just as hot as it would be if it had been heated by a conventional unit. When you turn the hot water tap off, cold water stops flowing through the tankless heater, and the element shuts off.
What Are the Advantages to a Tankless Water Heater?
Whereas conventional heaters need to heat reserve water, tankless water heaters only activate when you need them. They’re active for considerably less time than conventional water heaters, which makes them more energy and cost-effective. According to energy.gov, tankless water heaters are 24-34% more energy efficient than conventional water heaters in homes that use 41 gallons of water or less per day. The average homeowner would save more than $100 a year if they switched to a tankless water heater.
All conventional water heater tanks experience problems when they get old enough, not matter how well taken care of they are. Most conventional water heaters last between 10-15 years before they need to be replaced because of corrosion, rust, or leaking. Tankless water heaters don’t have tank problems, and they don’t strain under continuous operation, which means they can last longer. Tankless water heaters often last 20 years or more.
Is a Tankless Water Heater Right for Me?
Tankless water heaters tend to be most effective in smaller households. Most tankless water heaters are capable of supplying around 2-5 gallons of hot water per minute. If you’re using more than 2-5 gallons of hot water per minute, a tankless water heater my have trouble keeping pace.
Conventional water heaters may more effectively produce hot water for everyone in households where a lot of people live. Tankless water heaters also cost a little more to purchase and install than conventional heaters. They’re a popular choice for apartments or single residences, where owners doesn’t want to deal with water tanks.
Tankless water heaters may not be the perfect solution for everyone, but they are an exciting development in making everyday household functions more efficient and effective.
If you’re interested in learning more about or installing a tankless water heater, Mike Diamond can help you find the right one for you. All you have to do is call today to ask questions or schedule an appointment, and our smell-good experts will make sure you come away happy, and–most importantly–with plenty of warm water.