How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work?
Written on: April 21, 2023
Getting All of Your Hot Water on Demand
A tankless water heating system eliminates the standby energy losses that occur in storage-tank systems because this type of unit only heats water on demand. Here’s how it works.
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 a virtually unlimited supply of hot water. You won’t have to worry anymore about your hot water tank draining and having to refill and reheat. Long, hot showers, here we come!
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 will add up as the years go by.
10 Fast Facts about Propane Tankless Water Heaters
- 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).
- 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 currently qualify for rebates, which can make them even more cost-effective.
- Most tankless units hang on a wall and are about the size of a small suitcase.
- With proper maintenance, you can expect them to last about twice as long as a standard storage-tank water heater.
- 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.
- Prices range from about $170 for small gas-fired units to more than $2,000 for high-output heaters, which can supply two showers at the same time. On average, the cost is about $1,000 per unit.
- To extend equipment life, you should get annual maintenance done on your tankless water heater. One of the most important tasks is getting your tankless unit flushed to remove mineral deposits that have collected during the year. Left unchecked, a build-up of minerals can damage the heat exchanger in the unit, shortening its life span. Your tankless water heater also contains an air filter and water filter, both of which should be checked and cleaned regularly.
Learn More about Propane Tankless Water Heaters
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 more about the procs and cons of a tankless unit if you’re considering a water heater replacement.
Learn more about choosing the right water heater for your home.