Your water heater is one of the most useful equipment used in your home. A functional water heater ensures continued water supply. Whether you are planning to install a new water heater or want to replace an existing system, consider opting for a tankless water heater.

Before you start a tankless water heater replacement project near you, here are some things you must know about tankless water heaters.

What is a Tankless Water Heater?

A tankless water heater, also known as on-demand, flash, instantaneous, continuous flow or instant-on water heater, does not store hot water in a central tank. Instead, it heats the water as it flows through the device.

Copper heat exchangers are usually used in these systems because of their excellent thermal conductivity and ease of fabrication.

Tankless water heaters may be installed at multiple points-of-use far from a central water heater. This is not a new technology. Tankless water heaters are very common in Japan and Europe.

These systems are slowly gaining popularity in the U.S. due to their ease of use and cost-effectiveness. With proper care and maintenance, a tankless water heater can last 20 years or more. The average tankless water heater can supply 2-5 gallons of hot water per minute.

How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work?

A tankless water heater is equipped with a flow sensor. When you turn on the hot water tap, the flow sensor signals the control panel to start producing hot water. The system uses a negative feedback loop to bring the water to the target temperature.

As the water moves through the tubing, the copper heat exchanger transfers heat to it. The mixing valve tempers the superheated water. If the water temperature exceeds or falls below the set temperature, the panel adjusts the mixing valve, gas valve, and flow-regulating water valve accordingly.

A sealed vent removes exhaust gases through the roof or outside wall. Because there is no finite tank of water heater that can be depleted, a tankless water heater provides a continuous supply of hot water.

If you are planning to install your heater in an acidic environment, apply a durable, acid-resistant coating. High-quality, acid-resistant coatings are capable of withstanding extreme temperatures (exceeding 200 degrees F).

Advantages of Tankless Water Heaters

Here are some benefits of tankless water heaters.

  • Hot water on demand: A tankless water heater provides instant hot water, eliminating the costs associated with storing water in a storage tank.
  • Consume less space: Because a tankless water heater does not use a tank, it is more compact than a conventional water heater. This makes it easy to hang on a wall.
  • They reduce the likelihood of flooding: A tankless water heater uses fewer plumbing pipes than a conventional system. It also does not have a tank, which reduces the risk of flooding.
  • They’re safer: Tankless water heaters are designed to address several problems associated with traditional tank systems. If a tankless heater topples, it won’t spill gallons of water. A tankless system does not harbor Legionella bacteria. Its air-supply and exhaust vents are sealed to prevent carbon monoxide from leaking into the house due to backdrafting.
  • You’ll save more in the long run: A tankless heater heats water only when the faucet is turned on. Though a tankless system is costlier than a traditional system, it can help you save money by cutting energy costs.

Maintenance is Still a Must

Most houses receive hard water which contains minerals such as calcium and magnesium that can settle at the bottom of a tankless system and affect its efficiency. Mineral build-up can also damage the internal components of your heater.

Like all other household equipment, tankless water heaters need periodic maintenance. To prevent mineral build-ups, flush your system regularly.

Use a scale inhibitor system. Using a non-abrasive cleaner and a soft cloth, wipe down the cover of your system. Test your tank’s pressure release valve and check your pipe’s insulation for cracks. Descale your system. Have your contractor inspect and maintain your system at least once a year.

Types of Tankless Water Heaters

Non-condensing and Condensing Tankless Water Heaters

A non-condensing water heater uses a heat exchanger to produce hot water and vent the exhaust outdoors. It needs a stainless-steel flue pipe to withstand the heat produced in the exhaust. Non-condensing systems tend to have low installation costs.

Condensing tankless water heaters use a dual heat exchanger mechanism designed to maximize energy usage. Though these systems can use less expensive PVC in the venting pipes, they tend to be more expensive than traditional systems overall.

Tankless Gas Water Heaters

A tankless gas water heater uses a gas burner to heat the water as it travels through a pipe and into the system. They usually last longer than traditional and tankless electric water heaters.

Tankless Electric Water Heaters

A tankless electric water heater uses an electric element to heat the water. When installing a tankless electric water heater, you might have to introduce changes to your home’s electrical system or upgrade it.

Is your tankless water heater acting up? John Owens Services Inc. can help. We will resolve your problem in a timely manner, preventing it from snowballing into a major concern. To schedule a water heater inspection, call 415-942-6565.

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