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How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work?

Having a warm bath on a cold morning is a great way to start the day. With a good water heater, you should get the water at the right temperature for many activities.

Various types of water heaters can offer this luxury. One such item is the tankless water heater.

Apart from supplying heated water, these heaters have several benefits. For instance, it uses less energy than other models, thereby cutting your electricity bills.

So, how does a tankless water heater work? You will find the answer in this blog post. But first, let’s talk more about unit.

What Is A Tankless Water Heater?

how does a tankless water heater work

A tankless water heater is a device that produces hot water, especially when it is needed. You can call this type of heater by several names such as flash, instant-on, and inline heaters. But it is commonly known as on-demand heaters.

Unlike other models, it does not store water. Furthermore, it uses a copper heat exchanger because of its ability to control heat and ease of use.

You can install this heater in various ways. For instance, you can place it at different spots far from the main water heater. You can even choose a larger model and install it in a central location, thereby providing heated water for every part of the building.

Every model of the tankless water heater runs on different sources of power. Some run on natural gas or propane while others work with electricity.

Now that you know more about this water heater let us show you how they function.

How Does A Tankless Water Heater Work?

The electric tankless heater or a propane tankless water heater doesn’t heat the water in a storage tank. This is also the case of a tankless gas water heater.

As soon as you turn on the hot water tap, cold water flows through a pipe into the heater. Next, the water is heated by electric elements or gas burners. Finally, you have a regular supply of heated water from any fixture in your home.

With such heaters, there is no need to bother about filling the tank with sufficient hot water. But the water that flows out from the unit affects the flow rate.

If you use a tankless water heater, you should expect between 2 -5 gallons of hot water per minute. Tankless heaters that run on gas supply more water than the electric models. However, the largest propane tankless water heater might not provide enough water for homes with large households.

For instance, running your washing machine and taking a bath at the same time can overwork your water heater. To solve this issue, install different tankless water heaters for each household appliance that works with hot water. You can also set up two or more tankless water heaters and connect them in parallel for heavy water use.

How Does a Tankless Hybrid Water Heater Work?

How Does a Tankless Hybrid Water Heater Work

These types of tankless water heaters are different because they have the features of both tankless and tank-type models. So if you use a hybrid tankless water heater, you can control it by a thermostat (like the tanked units) or flow (tankless variants). So here is how the hybrid variant works.

If the hybrid water heater uses gas, it can be seen as a burner that is controlled by a thermostat or water flow valve. A dedicated system pushes heat into special pipes. Then it (the heat) is recycled to provide maximum efficiency.

Now water will flow from the bottom of the storage space and move across the pipes. As a result, you have a steady supply of hot water with the same pressure and temperature.

When there is a low flow rate, the unit acts as a storage type heater by using less fuel and working with a thermostat. Even if it has a tank, its small size ensures minimal fuel usage, especially when it is not used.

It is easy to mistake a hybrid unit for a regular water heater because it shares several physical features with the latter. It can even be installed along the wall like a storage type heater.

When large households use hot water at the same time, the hybrid unit works like a tankless heater. Here it uses a large amount of heat and other features to provide a regular supply of hot water across the building. As a result, the unit supplies more water even if it uses the same energy as the storage type heater.

Can a Tankless Water Heater Work For the Whole House?

Can a Tankless Water Heater Work For the Whole House

Yes, it can. But first, you will need to purchase a whole-house unit that is designed to supply water to several fixtures at the same time. For instance, the heater should be able to support two showerheads at the same time or bathroom hot water faucet, dishwasher, and kitchen sink.

The number and size of these units you will need to install will depend largely on the flow rate. Also, the flow rate will depend on the number and forms of fixtures you might use at the same time.

Most times, showerheads consume a large amount of heated water. Hence, you should install several heaters in parallel. The complete setup can handle the hot water needs of many showerheads.

To enjoy the benefits of whole-house units, you will need to spend as much as thousands of dollars. If this cost is above your budget, consider installing a point of use unit.

What Are the Different Types of Tankless Water Heaters?

After you have gotten an answer to your question “how does an electric tankless heater work?” question, you might want to install a tankless water heater. But before heading to any store to get one, here are the main types of heaters you might come across.

Non-Condensing Tankless Water Heater

Non-Condensing Tankless Water Heater

In this water heater, a heat exchanger is used to produce hot water. It is popular in Europe and Japan, with consumers giving positive reviews about this unit.

You will love the unit because they are durable even after many years of use. However, it has a hot exhaust, which means you will need to install an expensive steel vent to reduce the heat. It also has low energy efficiency, especially when you use lots of water.

Condensing Tankless Water Heater

Condensing Tankless Water Heater

These items are the next set of tankless water heaters to be built for commercial use. Unlike the previous model, it uses two exchangers – a primary and secondary heat exchanger.

The latter recycles the heat from the exhaust to increase the temperature of your water. This results in a higher efficiency of above 90%.

Since this tankless water heater uses affordable PVC vents, it serves as an ideal option for your home. But with its expensive installation and lower efficiency (during heavy use), you might consider choosing another model.

Condensing Hybrid Water Heater

Condensing Hybrid Water Heater 1

Condensing hybrid units are the third generation of tankless water heaters and were pioneered in the United States.

These heaters were first used in the United States. Unlike other models, they have a small tank for storing water. It holds a reservoir of heated water, thereby solving the issues of low efficiency.

You can install these units with PVC vents, which results in fewer costs. Furthermore, it provides a steady stream of heated water than other classes of tankless water heaters, which might let out alternate bursts of warm or cold water at the same time.

But this type of heater supplies hot water slowly while units from some brands are not durable. So if you wish to use this type of heater, you should take your time when buying them.

Point of Use Tankless Heaters

Point of Use Tankless Heaters

These units are smaller than whole house tankless units. Most of them can fit into cabinets or bathroom closets. Although these heaters cannot be used for an entire building, they are designed to serve one fixture at a time.

Point of use tankless heaters are affordable than the larger units, with prices as low as a few hundred dollars. They are also suitable for supporting storage tank water heaters that cannot handle multiple faucets, showerheads, and other fixtures.

Why Should I Use a Tankless Water Heater

Why Should I Use a Tankless Water Heater

1. Steady Supply of Water

A tankless water heater provides heated water on demand. Hence, you have a reliable supply of hot water. This water heater is ideal for large households, homes with spas, hot tubs, and large-sized tanks.

2. Uses Less Space

Do you have limited space in your home or garage? Then you should consider installing a tankless unit because it uses less space. It achieves this feature because you can mount them on wall or outside your building. Furthermore, it does not require a huge storage tank.

3. Increase Home Resale Value

After typing “How Does A Tankless Water Heater Work?” into your browser, you will discover that tankless water heaters are expensive to install. But you can recover the cost because a home with this device has a high overall sale value.

4. Durable and Lasts For Many Long Periods

Regular water heater lasts for less than 13 years. But if you purchase a tankless model, it can provide hot water for at least 20 years. Since the materials are made from premium materials, it can withstand rusts and leakages.

Final Word

How Does the Tankless Water Heater Work?” is a common question of many homeowners. Well, it provides hot water without a storage tank by heating it as soon as it flows into the unit. Lastly, it sends the water to the pipe of your hot water faucet.

There are several types of tankless water heaters. However, the hybrid model uses a small storage tank.

A tankless water heater is a popular type. After all, they use less space and do not come with oversized water tanks. They also conserve energy better than regular water heaters.

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