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How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work?

How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work?

There are a few examples of modern products that can make a huge impact on your home's comfort, expenses and efficiency, and one that's becoming more and more popular is the tankless water heater. If you're like many people, you may have heard this term and wondered exactly what it's referring to and how these newer water heater products work.

At Neighborly Plumbing & Services, we're here to offer a wide range of plumbing repair and other high-quality plumber services to clients around Salt Lake City, Millcreek, Park City, Holladay, West Jordan and nearby areas. Water heater services are just some of our numerous solutions, and we assist clients with tankless water heater needs regularly. Here are some simple basics on how tankless water heaters work, plus some of the benefits they tend to come with and why you might consider one.

How Traditional Tank Water Heaters Work

To fully understand the difference between traditional tank water heaters and tankless versions, it's first important to know how the former option works. Traditional tanks are storage units that hold a certain volume of hot water at all times - this is what makes them able to provide instant hot water when needed.

The heater consists of one or more electric heating elements or gas burners that heat the stored water so it's at the correct temperature when you turn on a hot water tap or appliance. Upon use, cold water enters the bottom of the tank and pushes hot water from the top into your pipes, replenishing the supply until it runs out.

How Tankless Water Heaters Work

On the other hand, tankless water heaters are also known as "on-demand" water heaters, and are designed to do exactly that: heat water on demand. They don't store hot water in a tank, but rather heat it as it passes through the unit. When you turn on a hot water tap or appliance, cold water enters the heater from your pipes and moves through a series of coils heated by electric elements or gas burners.

The water is then heated to the desired temperature and is instantly available for use. There's no need to wait for a tank to fill up, so there's no risk of running out of hot water. This saves energy and money and provides an endless hot water supply.

Is There Enough Water?

Likely the single most common question we get about tankless water heaters is how they can possibly provide enough hot water on demand. After all, traditional tanks are large and store gallons of hot water at a time - surely a unit that doesn't store any must run out quickly? The truth is that this is not an issue in most cases.

The average tankless heater provides heated water at a rate of two to five gallons per minute, which is more than enough for most homes. In addition, you can install multiple tankless units at different points in your home if needed.

Benefits of Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters offer numerous benefits compared to traditional tanks:

  • Energy efficiency: Tankless units can be 24-34% more efficient than tank options, reducing your energy bills. This is because the unit doesn't have to constantly heat and maintain a large tank of water.
  • Endless hot water: As mentioned, there's no risk of running out of hot water with a tankless unit since it heats water on demand.
  • Compact size: Tankless units are much smaller than traditional tanks and can be installed in tight spaces such as closets or under counters.
  • Longer lifespan: Tankless units can last up to 20 years, compared to the average 10-15 year lifespan of traditional tanks.
  • Reduced risk of water damage: Traditional tanks are known to leak or burst, causing costly water damage. With a tankless unit, there's no risk of this happening as there's no large amount of stored water.

Now, a tankless water heater won't automatically be the right choice for every home or circumstance. In some cases, a traditional tank may be more cost-effective or practical.

However, if you're interested in learning more about the benefits of tankless water heaters and whether they're a good fit for your home, our team at Neighborly Plumbing & Services is here to help. Contact us today to schedule an evaluation and learn more about our water heater services, or about any of the other areas our expert plumbers are happy to assist with around SLC, Millcreek, Park City, Holladay, West Jordan and surrounding areas.

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To serve our Wasatch neighbors in their plumbing, drain, and renovation needs. We are committed to giving you a reliable, fair, and ethical service with our local, experienced team. We strive to ensure that once our services are done, you will never need to call another plumber again.
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