Tankless water heaters, also called demand or instantaneous, have a completely different design than a traditional storage-tank system — which makes them more energy efficient. Monthly energy and monetary savings come from the fact that tankless models don’t store a supply of water and keep it hot. During that storage process, standard tank water heaters suffer standby heat loss, as stored water is kept at a usable temperature.
On-demand water heating is completely different. As soon as the hot water tap is turned on, water runs through the unit and is heated instantly with a gas-fueled or electric heating element. Only the amount of water currently needed is heated and nothing is stored. You get hot water immediately and don’t need to wait for a tank to refill and get hot. Because tankless units are much smaller than tank heaters and store nothing, they have a flow rate of up to two to five gallons per minute. Units powered by natural gas have the higher flow rates. This means you may need to install more than one unit to meet your needs.
According to Energy Star, households that switch to tankless water heating can save up to 35 percent on water heating costs if they use up to 40 gallons daily. Those who use more water will save about one-third less. To save the most, up to 50 percent, install a demand water heater at each site where hot water is needed.
Here are some configuration options your contractor may recommend to ensure your tankless unit(s) provide the amount of water you need, while saving you money long term. Install a tankless unit:
- As a supplement or backup to a solar water heating system
- As a booster for a remotely located guest house or hot tub
- As a booster for appliances such as the clothes dryer or dishwasher
- Or install two or more (connected) instantaneous water heaters for simultaneous demands
Questions about tankless water heating? Contact the experts at Rinaldi’s Air Conditioning for professional advice. We provide complete HVAC services — visit our website for details or give us a call.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about tankless water heating and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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