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How Tankless Water Heaters Work

Written by  Wilfred Weihe

How the best Tankless Water Heaters Work? Tankless water heaters a.k.a. on demand water heaters are gaining popularity over traditional water heaters. As the name suggests, a tankless water heater provides as much hot water as per your requirement.

Unlike traditional tank water heaters, these units don't store hot water in a tank for later use. Instead, a tankless water heater heats water whenever it is required to do so. In contrast to storage tanks, tankless water heating units circulates the water through series of burners or electric coils present inside them.

Though best tankless water heaters are a bit expensive to install when compared to the traditional water heating systems; but they hold many advantages over the traditional ones. Let us discuss the advantages a tankless water heater holds over the traditional tank water heater:
  • Energy Saver: It is indeed true that a tankless water heater initially costs high, but in the long run it turns out to be more energy efficient as well as a cheaper unit to make use of. It uses less energy to operate and it can be 30-35% more energy efficient than the traditional water heater. To draw a rough estimate, a tankless water heater can save you around $200 a year.
  • Unlimited Hot Water Supply: As an electric water heater doesn't store water in a storage tank, literally there is no limit on the hot water it can supply. Also, it provides faster hot water supply adding more quantity than the traditional one.
  • Physical Space: Tankless water heaters can be easily mounted on to the walls as well as internally in a building. It takes less physical space to install. Even the large systems that can't be mounted on a wall, takes up much less space.
  • Longer Life Expectancy: As there is a reduced risk of damage by water, tankless water heater tends to have longer life expectancy. Roughly, tankless units can survive 10-15 years more than the traditional ones.
  • Save water: Hot water on demand means no more waiting for hot water.
  • Portability: There are several advantages of using a portable tankless water heater.
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As it doesn't store water in a dedicated storage tank, tankless water heater provides hot water on demand; but if the demand of the hot water surpasses the unit's capacity to heat water known as the flow rate of the unit, it will not be able to provide hot water supply efficiently. For example, if two persons are taking shower simultaneously, it may be able to maintain the hot water supply. But if someone starts the washing machine or dishwasher then it may not be able to supply the required hot water to all of the systems at once.

The water temperature of tankless heaters depends upon the temperature and the flow of the incoming water. It doesn't have a fixed water temperature. So, the water temperature in a tankless heater can vary with different seasons and regions.

It simply means that water flow and water temperature affects the quality as well as the capacity of the tankless water heater. The water capacity of a tankless heater is expressed in GPM (Gallons per Minute) which is directly measured upon how much degree it heats the incoming water at a certain flow rate.

Depending upon the heat output and the response time, different type of tankless heaters can be used. There are chiefly two types of tankless water heaters; one which uses electric power and the other which relies on gas as a fuel.

Gas Tankless Water Heaters

How Does Gas Tankless Water Heaters WorkBest Gas tankless water heaters are mostly used for complete home water heating needs. These units can work on either propane or kerosene. These water heating units necessitates proper venting as their flues (required for emitting harmful gas by-products) are quite large as compared to other heaters.

There are some power units that possess a power vent, which allows the flue gases to escape through side walls. These units are ideal for places where venting is not possible or very costly to be realized. Gas tankless water heaters are very reliable where hot water demand is high. With proper maintenance these can work efficiently for a longer period.

How Gas Tankless Water Heater Works?

Gas tankless water heater works on the same principal as the traditional water heater, but without a storage tank. As soon as the hot water faucet is turned on, cold water starts to draw into the water heater. At the same time, a flow sensor detects the water flow and consequently activates the gas burner. Afterwards, the gas burner heats the heat exchanger where the incoming water encircles. The hot water leaves the water heater at a specific temperature, which is manually set by the user. At last, the hot water reaches your best bath faucet when you require it. A properly sealed vent system ensures a safe exit of all the combustion gases.

The gas tankless water heaters which are energy star rated, uses a secondary heat exchanger thus making it even more efficient than those without an energy star certification. The secondary heat exchanger extracts more heat from combustible gases and cool them to the condensation point. Henceforth, these water heaters are known as Gas Condensing Tankless water heaters. These water heaters require a proper PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) pipe venting and a condensate drain.

Electric Tankless Water Heater

Best Electric tankless water heaters are often installed for point-of-use applications for commercial and household applications.

They are super easy to install and compact in size thus, doesn't require much space. It uses electric heating element to heat water. As there are no combustible gases so there is no need for venting at all. These can be installed where venting is very costly or nearly impractical.

The biggest advantage of an electric water heater is its size; you can install it anywhere you want. For example, under the kitchen sink, in the bathroom, or in hotel washrooms. The proximity to the faucet eliminates the waiting time for the hot water.

Electric tankless water heating units use heating elements which are heated via the electric power. These units convert electric energy into heat energy. The heating elements are placed in direct contact with the water thus, they reduce the heat loss in the process. These are as efficient as the other tankless water heaters.

How Electric Tankless Water Heater Works?

How Does Electric Tankless Water Heaters WorkIt works pretty much in a similar fashion as gas tankless water heaters but, it uses heating elements instead of a heat exchanger. When the faucet is turned on, the incoming cold water starts to flow through the water heater.

Likewise, a flow sensor activates the electric power. In return, electric power heats the heating element. As the water is in direct contact with the heating element it instantly transfers the heat to the water flow, as the name come instantaneous heaters. Once the water flow stops, it automatically turns off the electric power. That means no wastage of water and electricity.

The working of the electric water heater depends upon the water flow, if the water flow is more than the capacity of the water heater then it may not be able to work effectively. You can pre-set the settings to the factory recommended all in order to maintain a constant water temperature even at the varying water flow rate.

This completes the guide about how a tankless water heater works. Though the basic working fashion of each of these units are almost similar, each manufacturer tweaks the functioning to match up the unit's working as per their trademarked standards. To better understand the technical aspects behind the working of these water heating units, you can go through the various in-depth guides available at the web.

I hope you now have better understanding of your trustable hot water providing buddy!


# Taj Nin Niha 2017-08-27 15:01
Wow its really helpful article . I noticed that you may tried to show up about over all method of heater. I must agree its informative. Electric tankless heater really work you proved that.
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