How A Tankless Hot Water Heater Works


It’s been a long week on the job and a long day in the office. All you can think about is how to unwind. One of the best ways to relax is by taking a warm, soothing shower. Who doesn’t love a steamy shower at the end of a long day? When it comes to water heaters and power sources, you have a variety of options. From gas to electric and tanks and tankless, what’s best for you and your home? At Autry Plumbing, we think tankless hot water heaters are great. So, keep reading to learn how a tankless hot water heater works. 


What Is A Tankless Hot Water Heater? 


Traditional water heaters are typical in older, traditional homes. These traditional tank water heaters often feature a tank ranging from 10 to 50 gallons, and hot water is always available. As you use the hot water, the tank fills back up and is always heating. This always-on way of heating water uses more energy, costs more money, and is less efficient than a tankless hot water heater. A tankless hot water heater is what it sounds like: a hot water heater without a tank! It’s typically mounted on a wall, small in size, and easy to install and maintain. New construction and remodels are adding instant water heaters more and more each year. 


How A Tankless Hot Water Heater Works


The way that a tankless water heater works is pretty straightforward. First, you turn on the tap. Next, the water enters the unit and is heated inside. The way that a tankless water heater heats water depends on the power source. If you’re on natural gas, the water is heated by a burner flame, and if you’re using electricity, water is heated by the element inside the unit. 

With a tankless water heater, there’s no need to wait around for a tank to fill up. The water is heated the instant you need it. Tankless hot water heaters are known for their extended lifespan when compared to heaters with tanks. For example, the average tank hot water heater lasts around 10 to 12 years instead of 20 years for a tankless heater. They save space and require the same amount of maintenance as a traditional water heater. Finally, according to the Department of Energy, tankless heaters are close to 40% more efficient than their tanked counterparts.  


The Disadvantages Of Tankless Water Heaters


Tankless water heaters have their drawbacks. First, the top disadvantage of a tankless heater is the upfront cost. The price of a tankless heater is often quite a bit more than a traditional water heater, but if you consider the energy savings down the road, it pays for itself. One way to think about the cost is similar to solar-powered homes. There’s definitely an upfront cost to go solar, but eventually, the power company will pay you for that excess power your system produces! Don’t get us wrong, though. 

The only other disadvantage, aside from cost, is flow rates. If your home uses a lot of hot water, you may need to install more than one heater. The average electric tankless heater puts out around one to two gallons per minute. If more than one appliance uses hot water, like a dishwasher and a shower, you could run into pressure or temperature issues. Another way to combat this issue, aside from installing additional units, is to use water heaters that use gas. The gas heater’s flow rate is more like 2.5 to 3.5 gallons per minute. 


Want To Have An Instant Hot Water Installed?  


So, now you know all about tankless hot water heaters. If you’re curious about what heater is best, give us a call! We would love to give you our opinion and help you install the new unit!