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Class Is Back in Session With Tankless Water Heaters 101

A Brief Guide to Tankless Water Heaters and Their Benefits

As summer begins to wane and kids get ready to go back to school, there’s no better time for homeowners to do a little learning themselves – about tankless water heaters! While most homes still feature conventional storage water heaters that keep a hot water supply inside a large storage tank, tankless water heaters are becoming increasingly popular.

For those getting ready to upgrade or replace their water heaters, switching to a tankless model is worth giving some consideration. So to help homeowners make a more informed decision, this article will explain what sets tankless water heaters apart, including what they are, how they work, and the benefits they provide. But not to worry, unlike going back to school, there won’t be any pop quizzes or homework at the end!

What Exactly Is a Tankless Water Heater?

water heaterAs the name suggests, the main difference between a tankless water heater and a traditional one is that the former doesn’t have a large storage tank where the hot water is stored. In a conventional storage water heater, the tank of water must be perpetually kept hot by a burner or electric heating element. As hot water is used, the tank is refilled and brought back up to the correct temperature.

In a tankless unit, water is heated rapidly and on an as-needed basis as it flows through the water heating system. This is why tankless water heaters are also called on-demand water heaters or instant water heaters. Another difference is that tankless water heaters tend to be much smaller than conventional ones due to the lack of a large storage tank.

How Tankless Water Heaters Work

sinkAs mentioned above, tankless water heaters heat water quickly whenever needed. When the hot water is turned on, unheated water branching off from the home’s main supply line will pass through the tankless water heater unit. The water passes through a heat exchanger inside it, facilitating heat transfer from a gas burner or electric heating element to the water. The hot water then flows to the faucet or fixture that needs it.

Because of this design, tankless water heaters essentially provide an endless supply of hot water, unlike storage tank water heaters, where the tank will need to be refilled and reheated once the hot water supply has been depleted. However, if multiple fixtures use a lot of hot water simultaneously (such as a dishwasher and a shower), it can reduce the flow rate since only so much water can travel through the unit at once. Besides simply using hot water through one fixture at a time, one possible solution to this issue is to install multiple on-demand water heaters that serve different plumbing fixtures throughout the home.

Advantages of Tankless Water Heaters

Perhaps the most obvious advantage of a tankless water heater is its perpetual supply of hot water – the last in line for the bathroom won’t get stuck taking a cold shower, no matter how many family members go before them! But there are also several other benefits of tankless water heaters that make them appealing.

Since there’s no need for the “standby heating” that keeps the water in a storage water heater’s tank hot around the clock, tankless and on-demand water heaters tend to be much more energy efficient. Depending on the home's hot water usage, they can be anywhere from 8% to 34% more energy-efficient than traditional storage water heaters. This efficiency leads to savings on utility bills, and tankless units generally last several years longer than storage tank water heaters. Despite their higher up-front cost, these factors make them a cost-effective investment over the long haul.

Tankless units are also much smaller and more discreet than conventional ones, which can save space and give homeowners more flexibility in terms of where they want the unit installed. Of course, since every household’s needs are different, homeowners in the market for a water heater replacement should consult with a trusted local plumber to determine whether a tankless water heater can benefit them!

About Guardian Plumbing and Drain

Guardian Plumbing and Drain is a reliable local plumbing company serving Cobourg and the surrounding areas. They offer same-day service, fast response, and free estimates. Call them today for water heater installation and repair services in Cobourg, ON.

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