Tankless water heaters, also called on-demand water heaters, have become increasingly popular in recent years for their energy efficiency and space-saving design. Unlike traditional tank water heaters, tankless water heaters do not store hot water in a tank but instead heat water as it flows through the unit, providing an endless supply of hot water on demand. This could be a good option if you’re trying to save money on your energy bills or you’re tired of running out of hot water.
How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work?
A tankless water heater heats cold water as it flows through a heat exchanger in the unit rather than storing hot water in a tank. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water is drawn into the unit and passes through the heat exchanger, where it is heated by gas or electricity.
The hot water is then sent to the tap, while the remaining cold water continues to flow through the unit to be heated as needed. This allows for a continuous hot water supply, rather than having to suffer through suddenly-cold showers or wait for a storage tank to fill up with hot water.
Tankless Water Heater Pros and Cons
One of the main benefits of tankless water heaters is their energy efficiency. Traditional tank water heaters have standby heat loss, where the stored hot water in the tank cools down over time and needs to be reheated. Tankless water heaters, on the other hand, only heat water when it’s needed, reducing energy consumption and resulting in lower energy bills. Some additional benefits include:
- Compact size: Since they don’t require a large tank to store hot water and can be hung on a wall, tankless water heaters can save valuable space in your basement or utility room.
- Longer lifespan: Tankless water heaters can last up to 20 years or more, while a traditional tank water heater typically lasts for 10 to 15 years.
- Available in gas or electric: No matter which energy source your home uses, you can find a tankless water heater that will work for you.
There are also a couple of drawbacks of tankless water heaters to keep in mind:
- Higher initial cost: While tankless heaters will save you money in the long run in energy efficiency, they do cost more upfront.
- Flow rate limit: You’ll want to make sure you work with a professional to choose the unit with the correct flow rate for your home, taking your home and family size into consideration. An undersized tankless water heater might not be able to keep up with your household’s hot water demands, which will only lead to frustration.
Installing Tankless Water Heaters in Northern Virginia
Tankless water heaters are an excellent option for homeowners looking to save space, energy, and money in the long run. With proper maintenance and the right size unit for your northern Virginia household, a tankless water heater can provide an endless supply of hot water while reducing energy costs. M.E. Flow can help with any of your plumbing questions, including questions about your water heater. Give us a call at (571) 350-3183 or request service online.