How a Tankless Water Heater Works

Tankless water heater

In order to understand how a tankless water heater works, it’s important to first understand how a standard tank heater operates. In a traditional heater system, there’s a large tank that holds and heats water. In order to give you hot water when you need it, the tank continually heats the water to maintain a constant temperature. The energy used to keep the water hot even when it’s not being used is called standby heat loss.

The idea behind a tankless system is that it heats the water as you need it instead of continually heating water stored in a tank. tankless water heaters have been the norm in much of Europe and Japan for quite some time, but they haven’t gained popularity until recently in the United States — largely due to the green movement. If you’re a good candidate for a tankless system, you can save a substantial amount of money every year on your monthly water bills while at the same time conserving natural gas. Tankless water heaters also:

  • last about 5 to 10 years longer than a tank heater
  • take up much less space
  • provide you with an unlimited amount of hot water

On the downside, a tankless system can cost up to three times as much as a tank heater and often requires upgrades to your natural gas line and a new venting system.
Tankless systems come in two varieties — point-of-use heaters and whole-house heaters. Point-of-use systems are small and only heat water for one or two outlets — say, your kitchen sink. Because of their size, they can fit under a cabinet or in a closet. They’re beneficial because they can be installed closer to your outlet and avoid water loss due to lag time. Lag time is the amount of time it takes for the hot water to reach your faucet. In large houses, the lag time can be significant, sometimes as long as several minutes. This means that while your water heating bill may be going down, your water consumption will be going up, which is something you should consider when debating whether or not to go tankless. Whole-house systems are larger, more expensive and can operate more than one outlet at a time.

With a tankless water heater, you can choose from electric, propane or natural gas models. Point-of-use models are generally electric, while whole-house systems are usually powered by either natural gas or propane. Which model to go with and what heating source you should use depends on many different factors. Our technicians are trained and educated, taking the stress off you when it comes
time to purchase your tankless water heater.

Skip to content