Tankless water heaters are convenient when it comes to getting hot water almost instantly. While the traditional tank water heaters heat water and store in the tank continuously, tankless ones do not require that approach. This way, it also efficient and saves energy, cost, and time. Thus, it is also eco-friendly.
A powerful heat exchanger in the tankless water heaters delivers you the comforting hot shower experience. This device can also be found in air conditioners, refrigerators, and many other similar appliances involving heat transformation, and cooling or warming features which helps to raise the temperature of the water and exchange the heat from the source to water. Usually, the tankless water heaters, it is powered by electricity or gas-fired burners. When you turn on the water faucet, the water stream activates the heat exchanger. After turning the hot water tap on, the heat passes through the cold water and turns into hot water.
Types of tankless water heaters:
There are two variants of tankless water heaters: point-of-use heaters and whole-house heaters. In the point-of-use systems, the units are small, only heats enough for one or two faucets. The merit of this is, you can adjust it in limited space due to its compact size. For this style of unit, it is ideal for keeping it nearby the water faucets so that it does not take a significant amount of time (lag time) when you turn on the tap. Lag time can also result in water loss.
On the other hand, the whole-house models are more extensive and more costly to install. However, if you are looking for something to cover a big house, that would be a great option.
Point-of-use tankless water heaters
As the name suggests, this type of heaters is more suited for a specific faucet or point of streaming hot water, e.g. in a kitchen sink or a shower. So, it is not ideal if you are looking for a heater to flow from every facet of the house. Besides, pous takes longer to supply hot water if the unit is at a distance from the faucet. That is why it needs to be installed as much near to the taps as possible.
Benefits of point-of-use tankless water heaters
- Usually placed close to the water taps, thus, reduces time lag (almost none) and provides hot stream instantaneously.
- Useful for any single channel outlet. An especially good option for washing machines.
- This can complement a traditional tank water heater by boosting efficiency.
- Can provide an unlimited hot water stream.
- Lower maintenance costs, as well as utility bills compared to the traditional tank water heaters or the centralized water heaters. Eventually, saves you money for the operations in the long run.
Drawbacks of point-of-use tankless water heaters
- Although the overall maintenance and utility cost comes lower in comparison to centralized water heaters, the initial installation process is more expensive for the POU systems.
- If you need a good number of faucets to run hot water, that might require several electrical and/or other utility points done in your house which will be costly besides being troublesome.
- POU usually works with electric tankless heaters instead of gas-fueled heaters. This can be costlier than the centralized tank ones.
Centralized/ whole-house tankless water heaters
This is the most common variant of water heaters used throughout the country. It falls under the “one size fits all” category, where you can install this for all the purposes you need at home. You get multiple faucets covered through one sole unit, be it a kitchen, bathroom, dishwasher, or washing machine. For saving space, garage, or basement is the right place to install these types of units. Hot water streams through the faucets on-demand, but there are some lag-time as all the faucets are not equidistant from the heating unit and it takes some time to pass through the faucets.
Benefits of whole-house tankless water heaters
- The tankless water heater ensures an endless supply of hot water. When it is added with the feature of multi-faucet streaming, it becomes even more convenient from all the water taps.
- A significant level of operational cost reduction by lowering utility bills to 30-50% compared to tank water heaters.
- It is usually quite easy to install. So, replacing an already existing water heater would not be a hurdle in anyways. It takes water, electricity, or gas as your utility points, which are usual for any water heaters. So, you might not need to get any additional work done.
- Ventilation is necessary with these units, so storing at the garage would be great.
- The flow of water distribution might require fewer plumbing works and will save you time, energy, and expense.
Drawbacks of whole-house tankless water heaters
- The lag time is likely to disrupt the desired temperature of the water. It will cause a slight delay for the hot water to flow. So, cold water will run through before hot water starts to come out.
- Might require some modifications done before it is installed and operated thoroughly. The ventilation might need some work is done which will be an extra hassle.
You have the option to choose electric, propane, or natural gas models. Usually, point-of-use models are electric, and the whole-house ones are propane or natural gas driven. Choosing between electric or gas-fueled water heaters can rely on some factors. For example- flow rate, amount of water the heater can deliver at once. And temperature rise or the difference between the expected output and the actual temperature of the water.