How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work?
Not All Water Heaters Need to Store Hot Water
If people were asked to describe a water heater, they might say it looks a lot like a giant tin can. Of course, what they would be describing is the storage tank for a typical water heater. The many gallons of water inside the tank stays heated thanks to a gas burner located at the bottom of the tank. If you have an electric water heater, your water stays hot due to electric heating elements. But not all hot water heaters need to store hot water.
Many of the new water heaters being installed today in New York and elsewhere simply heat water on-demand, accessing water directly from a water pipe. This type of unit is called a tankless water heater. Often fueled by propane gas, a tankless water heater is a great way to lower your energy bills while making the process of heating water much more efficient.
Additionally, tankless water heaters require such a small space that you will actually be able to reclaim all that square footage your old water heater was taking up. Most tankless units hang on a wall and are about the size of a small suitcase. You can expect them to last about twice as long as a standard storage-tank water heater.
How A Tankless Water Heater Works
A tankless system eliminates the standby energy losses that occur in storage-tank systems because they only heat water on demand. A propane instant water heater is compact in size, provides superior energy efficiency, and delivers a plentiful supply of hot water.
That’s because a tankless water heater can average a flow rate of about 222 gallons per hour, more than three times the delivery rate of a standard 50-gallon electric storage-tank water heater (62 gallons in the first hour). This dramatic difference in performance can mean the difference between taking a hot shower or a cold shower!
With a tankless water heater: when you turn on your hot water faucets or an appliance like a dishwasher, water is circulated through the tankless unit’s heat exchanger and delivered on-demand. Your energy efficiency will improve up to 40% and you’ll have access to unlimited amounts of hot water. That’s because you won’t have to worry anymore about your hot water tank draining and having to refill and reheat.
And while it’s true that a tankless propane water heater has a higher upfront cost than a traditional storage-tank water heater, you can save a lot of money on your water heating bills. Those savings certainly add up as the years go by.
Propane Tankless Water Heaters: 9 Benefits
- Tankless water heaters deliver a virtually endless supply of water.
- Their compact size saves roughly 12 square feet of floor space.
- These systems are on-demand, so they heat water only when it’s needed. That feature eliminates standby losses that occur in systems with hot water storage tanks like the typical electric storage tank water heater.
- On average, they save about $150 per year in energy costs compared with typical electric storage water heaters.
- They generate 50-60% lower carbon dioxide(CO2) emissions compared with electric water storage tank systems.
- Propane tankless systems also qualify for rebates, which can make them even more cost-effective.
- Unlike with storage tank water heaters, you won’t have to worry about gallons of water spilling into your home if a major leak occurs.
- Because the air supply and exhaust vents of a tankless water heater are sealed, carbon monoxide gas can’t leak into your home because of a back-drafting issue.
- Tankless units make your home more energy-efficient while adding to its value as well.
So why not heat as much water as you need without paying to keep it stored? Remember, with a tankless model, you benefit from a constant supply. Simply turn on the hot water faucet!
You can read about the pros and cons of a tankless unit if you’re considering a water heater replacement.
And be sure to read about the value of choosing propane when you’re ready for your next water heater installation.