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How Do Tankless Water Heaters Work?

May 31, 2024

If you’re thinking about replacing your water heater, you’ve likely come across tankless water heaters. Those who have switched praise their energy efficiency and report saving money on utility bills while still enjoying plenty of reliable hot water. 

So what makes one of these appliances different from a traditional stainless steel water heater? How do tankless water heaters work? Keep reading to learn whether a tankless water heater is the right choice for your home. 

A Simple Guide to Tankless Water Heaters 

A traditional or standard water heater with a tank keeps a supply of water heated at all times. When you shower, wash dishes, or do the laundry, the hot water comes from the tank already hot; the supply automatically replenishes.

Tankless water heaters work on demand. Instead of storing water, the unit connects to a water supply and instantly heats the water when you turn on the tap. Most units can heat between two and five gallons of water per minute. 

You can choose from two types of tankless water heaters: gas or electric. Gas water heaters have a gas burner that warms up the water, while electric tankless water heaters have electrical resistance heating coils. In either case, you can enjoy a practically limitless supply of hot water when you need it. In other words, even if the whole family takes showers and you run the dishwasher, you’ll still have plenty of hot water without waiting for the tank to refill.

The Pros and Cons of Tankless Water Heaters 

Energy efficiency is the primary advantage of switching to a tankless water heater. Standard water heaters use a significant amount of energy to keep the water in the tank hot, increasing operational costs. Tankless models only use energy on demand, which can slash your costs. 

Condensing tankless water heaters save even more energy since they capture and cool what would otherwise be wasted heat. Instead of venting the extra heat that comes from rapidly warming the water, the heat goes back into the unit, further reducing the amount of power consumed. 

Tankless water heaters also save space. Instead of taking up space on the floor with a tank, the wall-mounted units can fit into small spaces. They also last up to 20 years, compared to the average 12-year lifespan of a standard water heater. 

However, because these units can only heat so much water per minute, it’s critical to calculate the flow rate (how much hot water your home needs each day) accurately. Underestimating your hot water needs can mean dealing with the inconvenience of not having enough hot water. Some homeowners overcome this by installing multiple units to meet demand, but this means more expense.

Explore Your Water Heater Options 

When it’s time for a new water heater, talk to Chud Cooling & Heating in Abington, PA, about the options and what works best for your home. If you choose to install a tankless water heater, we’ll help you find the perfect unit to meet your family’s needs with reliable, on-demand hot water. Call (215) 659-4343 to find out if tankless water heaters are right for you. 

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