How Do Tankless Water Heaters Work? 4 Advantages & Drawbacks

Tankless Water HeaterKnown as instantaneous or demand-type water heaters, tankless water heaters supply hot water only when needed. Unlike traditional water heaters, tankless heaters don’t generate standby water to store in a storage tank. Tankless water heaters can be a great addition to your home and a cost-efficient alternative, that is if it’s right for you. Prior to replacing your outdated water heater, it’s important to become familiar with how a tankless water heater works.

How a Tankless Water Heater Works

To begin, let’s discuss the tankless water heater process. As referenced in its names, tankless water heaters don’t require storage tanks. Instead, they heat water directly. The process is simple: a hot water tap is turned on. In response, cold water will travel through a pipe and into the unit. Depending on if you have a gas burner or an electric component, one of these elements will heat the water—and that’s how water is warmed.

With a tankless water heater, you don’t need to wait around for a storage tank to fill up with hot water. However, please keep in mind: a tankless water heater does limit the flow rate. Commonly, tankless water heaters generate a rate of 2-5 gallons of hot water per minute. So if you use an abundant amount of hot water, you may have to consider a gas tankless water heater instead of an electric one.

Tankless gas water heaters typically generate higher flow rates for larger homes. But with that in mind, gas water heaters don’t necessarily supply a large number of hot water simultaneously. For example, if you’re taking a shower, and your spouse is doing laundry, this can push a tankless water heater to the limit. However, to solve this problem, you can easily install multiple tankless water heaters: either in parallel for simultaneous hot water demand or separately for specific appliances, For example, you can install a tankless water heater for the dishwater and another one for the clothes washer.

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Tankless Water HeaterAdvantages & Disadvantages of Tankless Water Heaters

Before you decide on getting a tankless water heater, there are a few things you should consider. Though a tankless water heater can be beneficial and cost-effective, it may not be for your home depending on many variables. For homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily, tankless water heaters can be up to 34% more energy-efficient in comparison to standard storage-tank water heaters. For homes that use around 86 gallons per day, tankless water heats can be 8%–14% more energy efficient.

Let’s take a look at a few pros and cons of tankless water heaters.

Advantages

  • Instant Hot Water
  • Longer Lifespan
  • Lower Month-to-Month Cost
  • Space Savings

Disadvantages

  • Higher Initial Cost
  • Limited Hot Water Supply
  • May Require Additional Equipment
  • Higher Installation Cost

Cost

When it comes to cost, tankless water heaters will have a much more costly upfront price than that of traditional storage water heaters. In addition, tankless heaters will also cost more in installation and maintenance. However, don’t be deterred. In the end, a tankless water heater will have a longer life cycle, and lower energy and operation costs.

Life Cycle

The average tankless water heater will have a life span of more than 20 years. In addition, they come equipped with many replaceable components, which makes it easier to perform maintenance on your water heater. A storage water heater typically lasts anywhere between 10-15 years.

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Installation & Maintenance Requirements

Like most appliances in your home, a tankless water heater will last longer when properly installed and maintained. Of course, the quantity of maintenance depends largely on climate, fuel types, local building codes, and more. Ultimately, we recommend getting a certified HVAC professional to install your tankless water heater to ensure its longevity.

Differences Between Electric & Gas Tankless Water Heaters

If you’re considering getting a tankless water heater, you must decide on whether you want an electric or gas tankless water heater. As far as operation, the only main difference is that water either enters through an electric element (for electric tankless water heaters) or a gas burner (for gas tankless water heaters).

Here are other things to consider:

Tankless Water HeaterElectric Heaters

Electric water heaters can have up to a whopping 99% energy efficiency. In addition, electric water heaters are a much easier choice if your home is already wired for electric water; the installation process will be fairly seamless. Electrical water heaters will be a cheaper option to install and take up minimal space.

Gas Heaters

Though they’re not as energy-efficient as electric heaters, they are the more powerful option. For homes with larger families, this may be the better alternative. If your home has not been wired for water heating, this is also a good choice. Gas water heaters will be more expensive in upfront cost.

Water Heater Repair & Installation Services

Is your tankless water heater malfunctioning or simply not working? The distribution of warm water is essential for daily tasks such as showering, washing the dishes, and rinsing your hands.  We offer trustworthy water heater repair and installation services to homes in areas of Pennsylvania such as Drexel Hill, West Chester, Havertown, and Ardmore. In addition, our team of licensed technicians offers dependable repair plumbing and HVAC services such as water line installation, furnace repair, water softener replacement, and air conditioning repair. Give our staff a call by phone at (484) 206-8594 to receive assistance with a plumbing problem. Our team of contractors will fix the issue efficiently and safely.

Need Help? Our Staff of Local Plumbers in Broomall, PA Will Diagnose & Resolve Your Issue

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