Hot water is an essential for washing dishes, clothes and to have warm, relaxing baths. Traditional water heaters store the heated water for use when required. The water that is heated can be used, but gets instantly replaced with cold water. At times, this may result in not having water hot enough for comfortable use. Tankless water heaters, on the other hand, do not store water and start the heating process as soon as the hot water faucet is turned on.
It means that you will have hot water flowing through the tap whenever it is on. The pipes are generally of brass or copper and exchange heat very quickly. These tankless heaters are small and do not have any large tanks for storage. These devices can provide 3.5 gallons per minute of hot water when they are fully operational. The water gets warmed as it passes through the heater. This heater may not be so convenient when some faucets are opened at the same time, as may happen in the case of more than one bathroom being used by large families.
Water in a tankless heater only gets heated when the water is passing through the system, and the heater remains off when the faucets are turned off. These heaters can use electricity, natural gas or propane to provide the necessary fuel for heating. One great advantage with tankless heaters is that there is almost no mineral buildup, as there is no storage of water. The system, therefore, requires no removal of buildup and can last for decades without in any way reducing in performance.
Tankless water heaters also are a quarter of the size of traditional storage heaters and require little space for their installation. You can even install these heaters on the outside wall as long as the proper insulation is used. In traditional heaters that store water, the water is heated, and if it remains unused, it will lose its heat over time, leading to energy loss. Tankless heaters only heat up on demand, and this means there is no energy lost. It leads to savings in energy that can be substantial and even help to reduce the cost of the installation. These systems add a lot to the value of a home and can give a service of 20 years instead of the 12 years that traditional heaters will. The high upfront cost is thus recovered over the energy savings over the extended period.
Besides the substantial investment required for tankless heaters, a major disadvantage is that these heaters are useful only where the number of outlets is limited, or where there is a definite time for using each one, which must not overlap. Energy efficiency in tankless heaters can be as high as 0.96, which means that there is almost no loss of energy during heating. Some models will even have devices that prevent water from freezing in pipes and can be useful when the device remains unused for a length of time. Tankless heaters offer both space and energy saving that makes it ideal for use in small apartments.