The Science of Tankless Water Heaters

How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work

How to choose a tankless water heater

Tankless water heaters have become increasingly popular as a method of conserving resources. Ben Franklin Plumbing Bay Area can help you decide if this plumbing fixture will benefit your home and your wallet. Here is how a tankless water heater work:

technology uses three items to determine the size of tankless unit needed:

  • Gallons per minute (gpm) – determines the flow rate
  • Temperature rise needed – the difference between the groundwater temperature and the desired temperature of the hot water generated by the tankless unit
  • Daily usage

The daily usage is the number of simultaneous applications that could reasonably be expected to be in use, such as a washer, a dishwasher, one or more showers, and so forth. In addition, the number of bathrooms in the house and the size of the family occupying it are taken into consideration. Investing in a tankless unit that is too large is counterproductive as is buying one that is inadequate to the needs of the household.

A tankless unit does not store water like a traditional water heater. Rather, there is a small reservoir and when the hot water faucet is opened, water instantly heated as it flows through the line. Although the water will not be instantly hot when the faucet is first opened because the water must travel the distance between the unit and the faucet, the lag time is substantially reduced compared to a traditional water heater and only the amount of water necessary is heated. Once the faucet is closed, the flow of water stops and the unit ceases to heat water.

Tankless heaters are available in electric, natural gas, or propane gas models. Both types of gas models generally use electronic ignition and therefore require a power source, although some are battery powered. Electric models are available either as 110V or 220V and can be installed as either a plug-in or hardwired into the circuit box.