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How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work?

Posted on: October 7, 2020 | ,

Did you know that heating water accounts for about 30% of the average home’s energy budget? Many homeowners who are looking to save money by lowering their energy bills are turning to tankless water heaters, which are 20% more efficient than traditional tank heaters. A tankless water heater will heat water right when you need it, saving you more water as you don’t have to keep the water flowing while you wait for it to get hot.

So, what’s the big difference between the two, and why does it matter? Tank water heaters are a fine option for most homes, although they are not as efficient as their tankless water heater counterparts. Tankless water heaters work as you need them, not continuously like tank water heaters. This could even save you multiple gallons per minute of water, meaning you’ll have more hot water all while paying less in energy bills per month.

Are you interested in learning more about tankless water heaters (also referred to as on-demand water heaters)? Contact Chapman Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing to speak with one of our licensed plumbers about having a tankless water heater installed in your home. We’ll let you know if we think a tankless water heater is the best option for your home, and then walk you through the entire process. Chapman offers water heater repair, maintenance and installation for both tank and tankless water heaters.

Tank Heaters

Tank water heaters work by heating a tank of water at a consistent temperature, even when you aren’t using it. This constant heating process does some damage on your energy bill, which is why the tankless water heater option is more efficient.

Do you ever have one of those days where you want to take a nice, long, hot shower after a cold day? Well, a tank water heater might have different plans. As soon as the water in the tank is used, you’re out of hot water until the tank fills back up and heats the water again. When that happens, you’ll only find cold water flow from your shower head. Tankless water heaters, on the other hand, have a flow rate from two to five gallons per minute, giving longer access to hot water than that of a tank water heater.

That said, tank units typically have a lower cost up front, and they are cheaper to maintain. Tank systems can be repaired easily because they have just a few basic components compared to tankless heaters.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless heaters heat only as you need it. There is no water being heated over and over again waiting to be used. Without getting too technical, when you turn on the hot water, a heat exchanger is used to heat water. You’ll improve your water usage and save water as it’s heated immediately and ready to use right when you need it.

The heat exchanger transfers heat from an electric coil or gas-fired burner only when you need on-demand hot water. With the electric coil or gas-fired burner only heating water when you need it, you’ll find yourself saving water and energy by not having to wait for the cold water to get hot. You can learn more about the process here, and see the most efficient tankless heater and why our professionals recommend them.

Some of the key benefits of having a tankless water heater installed include:

  • Tankless water heaters eliminate standby water loss, which occurs when the hot water in the tank cools back down or when the water cools in the plumbing system before it’s used.
  • They provide unlimited hot water. 
  • Tankless heaters also provide immediate hot water. You don’t have to wait a minute or two for the hot water to arrive. With a tankless water heater, hot water is available almost immediately. You’ll never have to take a shower with cold water again.
  • These units have an extremely long lifespan. Tankless water heaters can last 20 to 30 years, much longer than a tank unit.
  • They have a higher upfront cost but will save you money over time.
  • Tankless water heaters use an average of 41 less gallons of water per day.
  • On-demand units are installed on the wall and take up less space.

That’s quite a few advantages! But to be fair to traditional tank systems, we should point out that the cost of having a tankless water heater installed takes longer and is more expensive because plumbers typically need to relocate existing piping. 

Taking multiple showers at the same time can also cause tankless water heaters to fail to keep up with the demand, as these water heater units have a water flow rate of about two or five gallons of water per minute. If the tankless water heater can’t keep up with the demand, it will only produce cold water.

Contact Chapman for Water Heater Repair, Maintenance or Installation

When you’re ready to make the switch to the more efficient and better-working water heating option, give Matt Harold, our plumbing field specialist, a call. From choosing a tankless water heater to the installation itself, he will help you with all aspects of tankless water heater installation.

“I would definitely recommend a tankless water heater,” Matt says. “It’s an endless supply of hot water and much more efficient than people realize. They take up less room, save energy and have a much longer life span.”

Give Chapman, Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing a call to have a tankless water heater installed in your home today. Our team of professional and experienced technicians can install your new tankless water heater as soon as possible. Contact us online to schedule an appointment, or call us at 317-943-8674.