If you think tankless water heaters are a recent craze, you'd be wrong. They have existed for well over a hundred years. It was invented in the 1870s and was known as an instant water heater at the time. Today's best tankless water heater is a more sophisticated apparatus than their cousins some 100+ years earlier.
Tankless heaters work in a different way to their traditional - tanked- counterparts. They do not have a water storage tank and produce an endless supply of hot water as long as the tap is opened. They are also sometimes referred to as instantaneous or on-demand water heaters because of this.
It is fair to say that most of us know at least how the basics of a tankless water heater work. So I don't want to go deeper into the inner workings but I want to introduce those who do not know to a few basic concepts.
The heater draws water from an inlet. The water source is usually the city water supply but water can also be drawn from a well if there is no tap water available. The cold water then enters the heater where it is heated either by a gas burner or an electric element.
The hot water then leaves the heater through an outlet pipe where it is delivered to appliances such as showers, washing machines, and dishwashers. The best tankless water heaters run very efficiently.
They are made to only heat water when there is water flowing through the heater, and only when the water hits a certain minimum flow rate.
The best tankless heaters are very efficient because they do not consume residual power by continuously heating the water to the set temperature.
Tankless water heaters are also the best because they use less space than their traditional cousins. So you get extra space to use for other things.
Another benefit of using the best tankless water heaters is that they tend to last longer before even needing servicing. The life expectancy of a tankless heater is about 25 years on average while traditional tanks last about 10 to 15 years on average. When using them, it is important to use water softeners and sediment filters if your water source is hard. This helps prolong the life of the heater. It is the same thing for traditional heaters.
Some people will say that one disadvantage of tankless heaters is that it takes longer for the hot water to reach the faucet or appliance. This is especially the case with electric models than gas models. However, having used both tankless and traditional heaters, I must say this has never been an issue for me. I still experience a blast of cold water for a few seconds before the hot water comes through on my traditional heater. How long it takes for hot water to get to the shower depends on a few factors such as the flow rate and water temperature of the inlet, the flow rate of the heater itself, the distance between the heater and the faucet and the season.
One other factor that plays a major role in the rate at which you get hot water is the size of the model itself.
Another reason to use tankless water heaters is that they have a higher energy factor when compared to tradtional heaters.
So How do you decide which tankless water heater is best for you?
Well, there are many factors that will go into deciding which tankless heater you should buy.
You need to know the pressure and temperature of the water entering your home. If you are not sure, consult your water provider or use this chart to find the ground water temperature in your area.
Then you need to know what your peak demand is. That is when do you use hot water the most and what is the total flow rate you use during that time. Visit this link to find out the flow rate for all your appliances and faucets in the house and how you can calculate your peak flow rate.
Another benefit of using a tankless heater over a traditional heater is that if it is an electric model, it will not require venting.
I hope these arguments have convinced you that tankless water heaters are the best way to go.