These days, the discussion is all about maximizing space and energy efficiency by using tankless water heaters and other technologies is a hot topic. Pun intended. As resources become scarcer and space is at an all-time premium, you need to rethink the staples of your home and explore alternatives that will give you more for less consumption. (Image Credit: Vijaya narasimha/Pixabay)
Water heating is no different. Traditionally, water heaters used to be heated in tanks or a reservoir of water. From here, you can use the water stored in this tank for regular use, until the tank runs out and you have to reheat water again. Aside from the apparent space considerations for a tank, a tankless water heater instead heats your water as you use it, making a tank obsolete.
How does a tankless water heater do this? Water heater contractors in Salt Lake City explain below:
A Typical Tankless Water Heating Process
When you open a faucet, the water goes through a pipe until it splashes to your sink. In a home with a tankless water heater, the water is intercepted by the water heater first. When the water goes through the appliance, it triggers the flow sensor that engages the heating element.
Water heaters typically come in electric or gas-powered varieties. In an electric water heater, the heating element heats the water directly, but with the latter, a gas burner activates a fire in the heat exchanger. The heat exchanger’s surface is heated to high temperatures, where water will reach scalding heat when it comes into contact with it. These same circuits and sensors can also adjust the volume of water and the requested temperature.
The result is hot water whenever you like and how much you like. This is why tankless water heaters are also called “on-demand water heaters.”
You might ask, “But how does it contribute to energy savings?” Unlike a water heater that uses a tank, hot, stored water will always cool, no matter how hot it is and how great the tank’s insulation is. And if you heat water in the tank and not use it, all that energy spent on heating water means bills down the drain. Plus, the water in tanks often freezes in cold weather or winter. To heat it, your system has to work twice as hard, which compounds your energy consumption.
Not so with a tankless variant. The sensors that turn on the heat also turn it off when the flow stops, thus conserving energy. According to the Department of Energy a tankless unit can save up to 34% of energy compared to a traditional water heater, as long as you use less than 41 gallons of hot water daily. While tankless water heaters are more expensive upfront, the long-term savings that they impart you can make up for it in a few years. Note that these figures will vary depending on the cost of energy in your area, though.
Energy savings are not the only reason you should switch to a tankless water heater. This device barely occupies space, which it’s just a gray or black box set to the wall. Plus, having hot water when you need it beats heating a large volume of water that you’re not sure you’d need later on.