A tankless water heater is also called an “on demand” water heater, as it will provide hot water to a home only as it is needed. There is no hot water heat in a standby mode, which has to be kept hot, thus there is an energy saving.
This type of heater will heat the water directly without having to have any hot water stored in a tank. When an individual turns on the hot water tap, cold water will travel through the pipe into the heating unit. Using either a gas burner or an electrical element, the water is heated as it passes through the tube.
Consequently, a tankless heater will deliver hot water on a constant basis. There is no waiting for the storage tank to fill when it runs out of hot water. The only downside to this method of heating water is that the rate of flow of the water is decreased.
On the average, tankless water heaters can deliver hot water at a 2 to 5 gallons per minute rate. A natural gas fired water heater will give a higher rate of flow than will electric heaters.
However, if the household has a significant number of family members, and there is simultaneous usage by multiple members, the amount of water that is being called for can temporarily overwhelm the supply.
For example, if there is one member that is taking a shower, and the dishwasher are running at the same time, the member in the shower may have some cold water. Of course, the answer to this dilemma is to install multiple tankless heaters in strategic locations in the home or connect them in parallel for more hot water demands. Another strategy would be to have a separate tankless heater for appliances in those locations.
There are other possible needs where tankless water heaters would be a great advantage, such as a booster for solar hot water heating, for an extra bathroom or hot tub, and for additional appliances in remote locations.
Studies have shown that homes that do not exceed 41 gallons on a daily basis, a savings in energy costs can amount to 24 per cent to 34 percent. For homes that use up to 86 gallons of hot water per day, there can be an energy savings of up to 8 per cent of 14 per cent. If a tankless water unit is installed at each water outlet in a home, a savings can amount to 27 to 50 percent.
It is more costly to install a tankless heater that it does a traditional water heater, but the tankless water heaters tend to last longer, and as has been illustrated, the operating costs are lower.
An expected life of about 20 years is the norm for tankless hot water heaters, compared to a 10 to 15-year life for traditional water heaters. The tankless heaters also have replaceable parts that can give extra life beyond the estimated 20-year span.
Installing a tankless water heater can make your usage of hot water very convenient, as it makes the hot water available very quickly, as opposed to conventional hot water heaters, which can usually take a few minutes to deliver the hot water.
When purchasing a tankless hot water heater, do your homework, as there are different brands with different warranties. Get estimates on installation and be sure that the company you use is a reputable company. Since the facility will be behind walls, it usually necessary for the installer to obtain a permit. Be sure to check with the Better Business Bureau too, on the installation company.