FAQs: Tankless Water Heaters

We commonly get a lot of questions about Tankless Water Heaters. Every single day, people call into our offices to ask their list of questions about their device. We’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions about tankless water heaters in the list below. We hope we can provide you with the answer you seek.

i.   What is a tankless water heater?

Most people in North America currently use a storage tank water heater to provide hot water in their homes. A storage tank water heater keeps water hot 24 hours a day, even while you are at work or sleeping. A tankless water heater, on the other hand, does not store hot water. It heats the water as you use it.

ii.   How can a tankless water heater heat water instantly?

Gas Tankless Water Heater Diagram

When you open a faucet, the flow of the water triggers the heater to turn on. Whether you use gas or electricity, the powerful gas burners or electrical elements will turn on, rapidly heating the water as it passes through the unit. The water is heated instantly, and the time it takes to obtain hot water is directly related to the distance the hot water has to travel from the water heater to where hot water is being used. The burners or elements then shut down when you shut off the hot water. The energy that is consumed is only for the hot water that is being used.

iii.   What are the advantages of a tankless water heater?

Because a tankless water heater turns on when you open a hot water faucet and turns off when you close the faucet, the energy that is consumed is only for the hot water that is being used. Since there is no storage of water, and thus no constant heating and re-heating of stored water, you are not wasting energy heating water when you do not need it, such as when you are sleeping or not at home. This energy savings translates to dollar savings for you and reduced impact on our environment. Furthermore, since a tankless water heater heats the water as you use it, you can have an endless supply of hot water, provided you size the unit appropriately

iv.   How much money can I save?

Depending on which model of tankless water heater you purchase, and what size storage tank you have now, and if it runs on gas or electricity, you could save anywhere from 5% to 69% off your hot water heating bill. How? Most homes use hot water for a cumulative total of about one hour per day, yet they typically keep 40 or 50 gallons (often times more) of water hot 24 hours a day. Having a system that eliminates the storage and heats water only as you use it can dramatically reduce your energy consumption.

You can also save up to $300 on your next tax bill for select models. Click Here to learn more:

v.   Are there other benefits of using a tankless water heater?

There are many advantages of having a tankless water heater in your home.Besides the money savings, endless hot water and smaller impact on the environment, a tankless water heater:

Tankless Water Heaters
  • Is very small and can hang on the wall, thereby saving you valuable floor space.
  • Is designed with replaceable parts and is built with such materials as copper, stainless steel, and aluminum so as to last a lifetime. Energy savings is only one segment of savings?with proper care this could be the only water heater one needs in a lifetime.
  • Is almost entirely recyclable, so if you ever decide to replace it, it doesn?t have to go to the landfill.
  • Will not develop a corrosive leak like a storage tank water heater, saving you from expensive water damage in your home. Note: A tankless water heater can leak if it is exposed to freezing temperatures or has a manufacturing defect.
  • Maintains its efficiency throughout the lifetime of the unit. Storage tank water heaters decrease in efficiency over time due to mineral build-up inside the tank. This is due to the fact that storage tank water heaters store hot water, giving those minerals a chance to settle out and bake from the heat onto the walls of the tank, and onto the heating element in electric models, thereby reducing heat transfer.

vi.   Will one tankless water heater be enough to heat my entire house?

Yes. You must choose the proper model to suit your home’s hot water needs, which is based upon the maximum flow of hot water you need at any one time. We sell tankless water heaters that are capable of handling one shower at a time and others that can sustain a maximum of two showers operating at the same time.

vii.   What if I have hard water?

Since tankless water heaters do not store hot water, minerals have less of an opportunity to settle out of the water column and build up inside the heat exchanger. Additionally, the flow of hot water through the coiled heat exchanger flushes the product each time hot water is used. The use of a water softener is fine with a tankless water heater, and is recommended if you commonly experience hard water problems in your home.

viii.   What If I live in an area with high altitudes?

Gas model tankless water heaters will not function as effectively in areas of extremely high altitude. As a rule of thumb for any altitude over 4000 ft high, a gas tankless unit will lose 4% of its BTU for every 1,000 ft above this height. Electric units are not affected by higher altitudes.

ix.   How do I properly size my tankless water heater?

You need to choose the model that can deliver the volume of hot water to meet your needs. The best method for sizing this type of water heater is to know how many showers each model can run simultaneously. We have models that can run either one or two showers at a time. And remember, a tankless water heater can deliver endless hot water, shower after shower. You can call us toll-free at 800.297.6076 and we would be happy to help you identify the proper model for your home. Click Here to learn more about purchasing the correct size tankless water heater.

x.   Is this a new technology?

No. Europe, Asia and South America, where energy costs are more expensive than here in North America, have been using tankless water heaters for 75 years. Bosch Water Heating has been selling and supporting tankless water heaters in the United States since 1979. However, most Americans are just now learning of this technology and its benefits.

xi.   What is a point of use tankless water heater?

A point-of-use water heater is a very small water heater, either a mini-storage tank or a small tankless model, that is designed to be installed at the point of use, thereby eliminating a long pipe run. They are mostly sized to supply hot water to one specific application, usually a sink. A common application is a remote sink, such as a bathroom in an office building or a service station. Another common application is for distant sinks in the home that typically take too long to receive hot water.

Point-of-use water heaters are usually used for one of two reasons. One is to supply hot water to a remote location that is not served by a larger water heater. The other is to eliminate the wait time for hot water you may have at a particular faucet. Both offer the advantage of not having to wait for hot water. You can install a point-of-use water heater right at the source, e.g., under a sink. Therefore, when you turn on the faucet you have hot water instantly available to you. This both eliminates your wait for the hot water and saves water, our most valuable resource, from being wasted down the drain as you wait for hot water to arrive.

xii.   Can I use a point of use tankless water heater for applications other than a sink?

Yes. You can place a mini-storage tank (see Ariston) in-line with your main water heater. These are available in 2.5-gallon, 4-gallon and 6-gallon sizes. These provide you instant hot water at your washing machine or dishwasher, for example, and by the time you exhaust that supply, the main water heater that serves these locations has caught up, so you have a continuous supply of hot water as well (provided the main water heater is a tankless model).

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Jeff Flowers

About Author

Jeff Flowers has been a self-described beer geek for over a decade now. When he's not chasing his daughter around, you can usually find him drinking a fresh brew and wasting too much of his time on both Google+ & Twitter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>