Tankless Water Heaters
A tankless water heater differs from a storage water heating in its method of heating water. While storage heaters heat water and store it in an insulated tank, tankless water heaters heat the water as it is needed. These water heaters, also called demand heaters, use less energy as they only heat the water when there is demand.
Instead of holding a reservoir of hot water in the tank, a tankless water heater has a heating unit which is activated by the water flow. The water is heated as it flows through the heating unit on the way to the spout or faucet where it comes out. The amount of energy used in heating the water is much less than with traditional water heaters, and the units often last much longer.
While the tankless water heaters of previous years often were not able to keep up with the hot water demand of households, today's water heaters often have larger or multiple units, in order to heat more water. Tankless, or flash water heaters are more common in Asia and Europe, but are becoming popular in the United States as well, especially as they become more dependable.
Many homes employ multiple tankless water heaters that are smaller in size. This can be expensive when first installed, but reduce energy costs. Having several tankless water heaters increases the demand for hot water which can be met, allowing the dishwasher to run at the same time as someone is taking a shower, for example.
Another advantage of tankless water heaters is that they are less likely to corrode and degrade than traditional storage water heaters. The water can be heated by gas or electricity; they tend to cost less to use than a storage water heater no matter which method of heating is used. Some newer types of on-demand water heaters use solar preheating, which is expensive to install but saves money in operation.
A tankless water heater, or demand water heater, can be installed by a homeowner or a professional contractor. Many people choose to have a contractor connect the power source, even if they were able to perform the rest of the installation themselves, to make sure that the power source is connected in a safe manner. The water heater should have cautions about the amount of clearance needed, which should be carefully followed. Not giving the water heater enough clearance could cause a fire to start, due to the extreme temperature needed to heat the water.
Written by Bronwyn Harris
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