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How Do Tankless Water Heaters Work?

Posted on December 10, 2019
by Appleby Systems

How Do Tankless Water Heaters Work

Tankless water heaters—also called instantaneously, continuous flow, inline, flash, on-demand, or instant-on water heaters—are water heaters that instantly heat water as it flows through the device, and do not retain any water internally except for what is in the heat exchanger coil. 

Tankless heaters may be installed throughout a household at more than one point-of-use (POU). Larger centralized models may still be used to provide all the hot water requirements for an entire house. 

Tankless Water Heater vs. Tanks 

The main advantages of tankless water heaters are a plentiful continuous flow of hot water (as compared to a limited flow of continuously heated hot water from conventional tank water heaters), and potential energy savings. Your current water tank heats water on a 24-hour cycle, wasting energy heating water when you’re asleep or away from home. 

With a tankless water heater, you only pay to heat water when you need it. The water is also superheated on demand and can keep up as long as you need hot water. Why pay to store hot water when you can make it immediately when you need it? 

Long-term energy savings

Though a tankless water heater typically costs more initially, it usually costs less to operate because of lower energy use—since it only heats water when required instead of continuously maintaining a tank of heated water 

Savings in water use

 Users do not have to run the hot water as long as with a conventional water heater tank, waiting for it to get to the faucet. 

Unlimited hot water

Though the flow rate determines the amount of hot water the heater can produce, it can deliver it at that flow rate indefinitely. However, this can also be an ecological disadvantage, as running out of hot water limits water use, but a tankless heater provides no such limit. 

Less physical space

Most tankless water heaters can be mounted on a wall or internally in a building's structure. Even systems that can't be mounted on walls take up less space than a tank-type water heater. 

Reduced risk of water damage

No stored water means there is no risk of water damage from a tank failure or rupture, though pipe or fitting failure remains possible. 

Temperature Compensation

How Do Tankless Water Heaters Work

A temperature-compensating valve tends to eliminate the issue where the temperature and pressure from tankless heaters decrease during continuous use. Most new-generation tankless water heaters stabilize water pressure and temperature by a bypass valve and a mixing valve incorporated in the unit. 


Tankless Water Heaters precisely control water temperature, which means dangerous temperature levels and spikes are less likely.           


On the other hand, tankless water heaters have a higher upfront cost. Beyond the two to four times higher initial purchase price (as compared to a tanked water heater), installing a tankless system comes at an increased cost, particularly in retrofit applications, but weighing that against the long-term savings of a tankless heater is a decision we urge you to come and chat with us about.

Enjoy the Benefits of a Tankless Hot Water Heater Today

Ready to make the switch to more cost-effective water-heating solutions? Give us a call at Appleby Systems today to request a quote and find the right tankless water heater.


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