Do tankless water heaters work?

The term tankless water heaters is derived from the fact that it uses heating coils rather than storing water to increase the temperature of water to a desired warmness. It is also known as demand-type or instantaneous water heater because it only provides water when you need it the most. It is therefore used to conserve energy, unless you are using water continuously on a daily basis. The best usage of this type of water heater is for the dishwasher and for shower needs. It is an energy-efficient heater, but only provides an adequate amount of hot water per minute.
One advantage of owning a tankless water heater is that it can save you some money compared to the likes of storage water heaters that cause energy loss when on standby mode. These demand-types are perfect for homeowners who use natural gas in their place to heat water. They are commonly found in Europe and Japan. Since these models are quite small compared to the conventional water heaters, they are mostly purchased by people who have small living quarters to save storage space.

How Does It Work?

In tankless models, the water is heated directly without the use of the storage tank. If you open a hot water tap, the cold water travels through a pipe inside the model. It can be operated either by gas or electricity. The result is constant delivery of hot water because a storage tank will not be needed to be filled with hot water. The downside of this model is that the flow rate limits the output.

The term demand-types water heater is associated with these systems due to the fact that they prevent standby heat loss due to incoming water and thus using it only as need. That is why the tankless system is an energy efficient system. Seeing as how these type of heaters have a short supply of output, installing a gas tankless water heater can supply a higher flow rate. However, installation is expensive and should be taken into consideration due to the gas line and the required combustion of air.
There are limits when using a tankless water heater. Even if you purchase the most expensive gas powered model to supply hot water throughout the entire house simultaneously, it is impossible for the unit to pump hot water in a large house. To solve this kind of problem, you need to install two or more tankless water heaters for concurrent supply of hot water. Another method that can be applied is to install a separate heater for different appliances like dishwasher and washing machine, as these appliances use a lot of water in a most households.

Are They Great, Overall?

The cost-effectiveness of a tankless water heater depends on how it is operated. Therefore, we cannot say which performs much better between the electric or the gas operated. That is determined after considering the options and weighing all the advantages and disadvantages with the different needs of homeowners. Tankless units can last longer compared to their other counterparts and have a low operational costs, not to mention their energy-efficiency. Maintenance requires annual inspection for both electric and gas. Due to periodic maintenance, the heater’s viability will be minimized and eventually lose its efficiency.