If you have been considering making the switch towards a tankless water system it is very important that you first understand how it works along with its pros and cons. Before you can understand how a tankless hot water service system works you need to understand how a one with the tank works. A regular tank heater heats up and holds hot water which is distributed through the hot water lines. The tank will continually heat up the water in order to maintain a constant temperature. The little energy used to keep the water hot is often regarded as standby heat loss.
Tankless hot water systems work in a way so that there is no standby heat loss from incoming water. The water is heated “on demand”. The elimination of this heat loss is what really makes a tankless system much more efficient.
How does the tankless hot water system deliver piping hot water?
A tankless system makes use of what is known as a heat exchanger which raises the temperature quite a bit. A heat exchanger is actually a really straight forward device that transfers heating from one source to the other. Heat exchangers have been used in your refrigerator, car radiator, and air conditioner for years. In the case of an electric heater the heat is generated by a series of electric coils or a gas burner that quickly heats up the water running to your faucet. The exchanger is automatically activated by incoming water. Each time you turn on your hot water tap the water will first run through the exchanger which will heat up the water to the temperature you desire.
Types of tankless systems
In the main hot water service industry there are two main types of tankless systems i.e. one uses point of use heaters the other whole house heaters. A point of use is a lot like a small heater which only heats just one or maybe two outlets probably just your kitchen sink. Because they are really small they can fit almost anywhere. Since they can be installed near your outlet of water it helps to avoid lag time. While lag time is not a problem in small homes in larger setting lag time can be a big issue. Large houses will need to make use of larger more expensive whole house systems that can heat more than one outlet at a time.
There are also various categories of tankless heaters which range from ones that run on propane, natural gas and electricity. Usually point of use models are electric, and whole house systems are natural gas powered or utilize propane tanks.
Benefits of tankless systems:
- Tankless systems rarely run out of warm water
- These systems last a decade longer than their tank counterparts
- They are much more efficient and so there is no standby loss of heat
- They take up a lot more space and so they can be installed even on walls
- Other smaller units can easily be installed under the cabinet or a closet which is closer to faucet
- Energy is only needed to heat the required amount of water at that moment
- You will save around 20% on your water heating bill
- Electric tankless heaters don’t produce CO2
- Many units are remote operated and have four separate built in settings
- You’ll not experience a flood owing to a ruptured tank
Cons of a tankless system
- They cost around three times more than a regular water heating system
- The hot water output tends to be split among all fixtures
- If it’s a gas heater a larger gas line will need to be added to supply enough fuel
- Propane and venting gas is often expensive
- You’ll need additional circuitry for electric units
- Electric models consume a lot of electricity
- They have a minimum flow rate of usually .5 GMP which is required to activate the heat exchanger
If it’s time to get a brand new water heater then there is a distinct advantage when it comes to switching to a tankless model. Tankless models will save you money in the long term. You should match the “Energy Guide” sticker of your current model and the new tankless heater that you purchase so that it fulfills your needs without a hitch.