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What Is a Tankless Water Heater? Should I Get One?

Forget everything you know about water heaters!

Well, it’s okay to remember most of it—the only part you really need to toss out is the idea that all water heaters use large storage tanks to operate. For decades this was the standard for water heaters—and there’s still nothing wrong with relying on storage tank water heaters—but there are new models available that don’t use water tanks at all. Tankless water heaters are already enormously popular in Europe and spreading quickly in the U.S.

The Basics of a Tankless Water Heater

How does a water heater operate without a tank? It might at first be hard to imagine this, but the tankless water heater isn’t too complicated a device. Instead of storing water in a large container and applying heat to this supply, a tankless system heats water as it moves through the pipes. When a water tap or appliance turns on in a house to request hot water, the movement of water through the hot water lines activates a heat exchanger in the water heater. The heat exchanger transfers heat to the water that’s moving through the system on its way to the taps/appliances. In other words, water is heated as it’s required. There’s no need to store hot water because the system can always heat up more when necessary.

The Advantages of Heating Water This Way

So why should you consider switching to this type of water heater? There are some benefits to consider:

  • Lower energy use: Because a tankless water heater only uses energy when there’s a demand for hot water, it will run less often than a storage tank system that must keep its water supply at a steady temperature at all times. The savings from a tankless water heater allow the system to pay for itself in only a few years.
  • No running out of hot water: If your home has trouble running out of hot water (often a problem during mornings), a tankless system will fix this. There’s no water supply that can be depleted, and the water heater simply heats up more on demand.
  • Longevity: The stress of storing large volumes of water and using almost continual heat causes conventional tank water heaters to wear down after 10 to 15 years. Tankless systems often last more than 20 years.

Find out more about tankless water heaters when you call Bob Mims Heating & Air Conditioning in Staten Island, NY.

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