Tankless water heaters give the perfect shower every time with no waiting.
Traditional water heaters couldn’t be much simpler. Water flows into a tank where it’s heated up using electricity or gas, and then it sits and waits. If it waits too long, it’s reheated to keep it at the right temperature until you need it. That’s inefficient, which is why tankless systems are growing in popularity.
A tankless water heater only produces hot water as you need it. Also called on-demand water heaters, these clever appliances save money and will likely overtake the more wasteful, traditional models in years to come.
#1: Less Wasted Water
Unless you’re a glutton for punishment, you’re probably like most people in the world. You turn on the water and let it run until what comes through the tap is a comfortable temperature. Only then will you (and everyone else) dare to step into a shower or wash your face or hands. The farther the heater is from the tap, the longer it takes to get the right temperature. And so a lot of water gets wasted in the process.
Tankless water heaters produce hot water fast. And unlike tank-style water heaters, you can install them near your taps. Less water gets wasted because it takes less time for warm water to flow out.
#2: Less Wasted Energy
To be fair, the newest tank-style water heaters are incredibly well insulated. That means less heat is lost, which translates to fewer on-cycles to heat up water that’s cooled off. But every time you reheat the same water, even if it’s less often, you waste energy and money.
On-demand water heaters only heat water once, and that’s as you use it. But there is a caveat. A common design flaw releases a slug of frigid water when you least expect it, which is right in the middle of your shower. With a small, electric accessory tank in line from the on-demand unit, those slugs get mixed with warm so they never reach the tap.
#3: Hot Water in a Blink
Tankless water heaters work fast. That’s because they don’t try to warm 50 gallons of water at the same time. Instead, water flows through small-diameter pipes which coil through a heating element. But there’s another way to make fast hot water even faster.
Some homes have small, on-demand water heaters near certain taps. For example, you might have one in the bathroom so water doesn’t travel far at all. And that means less time for it to cool down before it reaches its destination.
A tankless water heater can fit almost anywhere.
#4: Space-Saving Design
Most homes have at least one water heater taking up space in a basement or inside a utility closet. These beasts have tank sizes that are much larger in diameter than a person, if not as tall. But a tankless water heater is much smaller.
An on-demand water heater can tuck into the same utility closet without taking up the whole space. Or it can mount on a wall. In some locations, outdoor installation is also possible. The space-saving nature of tankless water heaters means homeowners can use square footage much more efficiently than before.
Some people will hang onto tank-style water heaters for as long as possible. And there’s a good reason for it. Tankless units still have some kinks to work out, such as the cold water slug. Another issue is the yearly purge. Unlike large tanks, small units require regular purging and flushing of the lines to remove sediment, which impairs water flow. They’re more of a maintenance hassle.
Even still, these compact units have been commonplace throughout Europe for years. With technology improvements, it’s easy to see a future where wasteful tanks of heated and reheated water give way to a smaller, more efficient design.
ICA School is committed to keeping home inspectors current with home system trends. Students receive an up-to-date education that covers what’s traditional and what’s new. And when trends change again, we’re never a step behind. If you’re ready to start on your path to a new career, you chose a great time. Enroll now and get started today.