How Tankless Water Heater Works?

First, are you on the fence about to install a tankless water heater? You don’t have to wait any longer. There are enough reasons why should go tankless. First, you will enjoy many benefits including;

It’s more efficient. Despite being pricier tankless water heaters are more efficient. Research shows that tankless water heaters are 30 to 35 percent more energy efficient. This translates to more savings and reduced expenses.

Less physical space- electric heaters do not need storage tanks. As such, they tend to consume less space than the tank-type heater. In fact, this is what differentiates them from any other heater.

They have a long life expectancy. Tankless water heaters have a longer lifespan than the traditional type of tankers. Who doesn’t want an asset that will remain intact for years?

Low maintenance costs. Tankless water heaters rarely face major problems compared to their ‘storage’ type competitors. Even better, most of their common problems are easy to deal with. In fact, you can do pretty much without involving a plumber or an electrician.

There is more to this, we have an article dissecting all the pros and cons of these tanks.

Types of Tankless Water Heaters

For a better understanding, there are 2 different types of tankless water heaters. Gas-fueled and electric tankless water heaters. First, the difference between these heaters and anything else is that they’re tankless.

Apart from the design, how they work is a bit different from other heaters. Let’s now get into these two types of tankless water heaters.

Gas Tankless Water Heaters

Gas tankless water heaters run on kerosene or propane. Before installing one of these heaters, you need to assess different things. First, it’s important that you ensure your house has adequate ventilation. Ventilations let out harmful gasses emitted by the heater.

A few of these units come with vents that allow the gasses to escape either through the walls or the roof. These models are best for places that lack venting systems. Another best place is where it could be costly to meet the required standards.

If you have a big home where hot water demand is high, gas-type is a great option. But this is only possible if you have access to this type of fuel.

How does a Gas Tankless Water Heater Work?

Gas tankless water heaters and the traditional water heaters are almost similar. The two types use the same principle only that one lacks a storage tank. When the hot water faucet is on cold water trickles into the heater. After that, a sensor detects the flow and immediately activates the burner.

The gas burner heats the heat exchanger as the water encircles. When the water gets to the right temperature, it leaves the heater, through the faucet. An adequate ventilation system will ensure a safe passage of all harmful gasses.

For a better understanding, there are 2 different types of tankless water heaters. Gas-fueled and electric tankless water heaters.

Gas tankless water heaters are energy star-rated. They use secondary heat exchangers that make them more energy efficient. This is when compared to other heaters without an energy star certification. Secondary heat exchangers get heat from the combustible gasses, to condense the gasses.

Due to the secondary heat exchanger, gas tankless water heaters have a second name. (Gas Condensing Tankless Water Heaters). These heaters need Polyvinyl Chloride pipe venting as well as a condensation drain.

Electric Tankless Water Heaters

Electric tankless water heaters are compact, easy to install and do not consume a lot of space. They use electricity as the sole heating element. Unlike their gas-type, an electric type does not need venting since it don’t emit any harmful gasses.

They are more suited for places that are costly or impractical to add venting. The biggest selling point of electric water heaters is their size. They are small enough to install in almost any place you want.

For example, you can fit it in the bathroom, hotel washrooms or even under the sink. The closer it is to the fixture, the lesser time for the hot water to reach the intended point of use.

Electric water heaters use electricity-powered heating elements to heat water. They work on the principle of converting electric energy into heat energy. The heating elements are in contact with water reducing heat loss during the process.

How does an Electric Tankless Water Heater Work?

Its working mechanism is pretty much the same as that of a gas tankless water heater. One of the noticeable differences is that they use a heating element. This is as opposed to the heat exchanger present in a gas heater.

Like in the gas heaters, when a faucet is on, and water flows through the heater. A flow sensor triggers the activation of electric power, to heat up the heating element. Since the heating element is in contact with the flowing water, it transfers the heat to the water. This working mechanism has gained it the name “instantaneous heater.” Immediately the flow of water stops, the heater cuts the supply of power to the heating element. This leads to minimal wastage of water and power.

The electric heater is set to work with a certain rate of water flow. If exceeded, it may not function at the same efficiency as before. You can customize the settings to maintain a constant temperature. This is even if the rate of water flow changes.

How to Adjust Temperatures in a Tankless Water Heater

Adjusting temperatures in modern tankless water heaters are quite simpler. Thanks to technology, you can now control temperatures and by a press of a button. These changes also cause power input adjustments. so that the heater gets enough power for the new heating plan.
Instantaneous heaters come with computer-controlled thermostats. These thermostats have LED readouts for precise control of the temperatures. As such, the user can change the temperatures one degree at a time. The thermostats are more efficient than traditional dial controls. Traditional controls only allow for a “range” of temperatures. This is as opposed to the precise number that the modern models offer.


In conclusion, these water heaters have the same purpose but are different. Unlike conventional heaters, they provide hot water when needed guaranteeing your convenience. Electric-type tankless water heaters are cheaper but more efficient. Their energy consumption is also higher. For gas-type tankless water, they are pricier but more energy efficient.

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