Tankless water heaters are becoming a fixture in many new homes around the country. These types of heaters produce hot water on demand, whereas the more traditional storage tank heaters hold a set volume of hot water within an insulated water tank that can be used when needed.
In a tankless water heater, cold water enters the tankless unit and exits nearly immediately at the target temperature. A gas tankless water heater is heated using a gas burner, while electric tankless water heaters use electrical resistance heating coils.
These heaters are growing in popularity thanks to the greater efficiency they provide in the long term. According to Home Depot, they can lower household energy bills by up to 40 percent and may last as long as 20 years.
Although an investment in this type of heater may be more expensive up front, homeowners can enjoy significantly lower energy bills over time compared to what they could expect when using other types of water heaters.
How Do Tankless Heaters Function?
A traditional water heater uses a water tank to store hot water over time that can be used at a moment’s notice until it runs out. Tankless heaters, in contrast, do not need to store water in order to deliver it to the house.
Instead, any time a hot water tap is turned on by someone in the home, cold water flows through the tankless heater and is heated by an electric heating coil or gas burner and then distributed to the tap.
While many homeowners are drawn to these models because of their greater electrical efficiency, another benefit is their size. Because no tank is needed for storing water, these units can be easily mounted to a wall, providing homeowners with more space and making it easier to hide.
How Much Hot Water Do They Provide?
Traditional water heaters provide hot water until the tank is empty. This can be a problem for families with smaller tanks as it may be necessary for some members of the household to wait for the hot water to replenish before they can take a shower if others in the home have recently used hot water.
A tankless water heater works a bit differently and provides a steady flow of hot water at a rate of roughly 2 to 5 gallons per minute. Gas-powered tankless heaters can sometimes achieve higher water flows than electric ones.
While this may be less water per minute than a storage tank heater offers, it means multiple sources can use hot water at the same time.
Nevertheless, when hot water is needed simultaneously throughout the home, such as for someone taking a shower while the dishwasher is running, they may find that the water is released with less pressure or is not as hot as expected. In these cases, homeowners with bigger houses may opt to install two or more tankless heaters or use separate heaters for different appliances.
How Does The Panel Work?
The panel on a tankless water heater adjusts the gas valve, mixing valve and water flow in order to attain the desired temperature. Users can easily control these settings. Those with electric tankless heaters can control the amount of electricity that is used to help manage their utility bills.
Tankless water heater panels can use personalized settings, allowing people to use a mixing value and water flow amount that suits their needs. When tankless heaters are installed, the plumber will help the homeowner set the water heater according to their preferences.
If a homeowner wishes to change their settings significantly for any reason, it is a good idea to discuss this with a plumber to ensure they are making the right move.
What Problems Can You Encounter With Tankless Water Heaters?
Overall, tankless water heaters need less maintenance than the storage varieties and offer excellent overall efficiency. However, they may run into problems if their air supply is blocked. This means the heater could have trouble venting, which may lead to overload. This is something that needs to be resolved immediately to avoid a fire hazard.
Another problem tankless heaters may encounter is a failure to ignite. This occurs when a heater that runs on gas has trouble with its gas supply. Many times, this happens because the gas and water valves are not fully open, which is easy to remedy.
Tankless Water Heater Maintenance
Much like storage tank water heaters, the tankless varieties have the potential for mineral buildup that can impair the heater’s function. Homeowners who notice problems with their water consistency should call a professional for advice.
Reach Out To Baumbach Plumbing & Remodeling
Get in touch with Baumbach Plumbing & Remodeling for all of your residential hot water needs. We have been serving the Northern Virginia area since 1928, and our experienced master plumbers are licensed, bonded and insured.