Tankless Water Heaters
With progress in technology, we have created better and more efficient heating systems. Starting from the highly inefficient bonfires of the Stone Age to modern gas and electric heating systems, we have come a long way. Still there is always room for improvement in any technology. As an alternative to conventional water heaters, tankless water heaters were introduced as more energy efficient options.
What are Tankless Water Heaters?
As its name suggests, this device designed to provide heated water, comes without an attached tank. Unlike conventional water heaters, which do come with a tank that holds continuously heated water, tankless waters have no external storage. Water inlets are directly connected to these heating systems, which provide spot heating.
Typically, most tankless water heaters use an electric coil or use natural gas as a heating source. With users reporting a drop in heating related bills, tankless water heating systems became popular. Therefore, despite their higher costs, compared to conventional water heaters, people prefer using them. Due to their smaller size and direct access to water, they occupy less space. They are generally used for spot heating and are mostly installed near the place of usage.
How do Tankless Water Heaters Work?
A typical tankless water heater is compact enough to be installed in a small cupboard, but larger capacity systems are also available. It consists of an inlet port to take in water, an outlet port to deliver hot water and an electric or gas based heat exchanger inside. In case it's a gas based tankless water heater, there will be an additional gas inlet. I will primarily explain a gas based tankless water heater's working here. The working of the electric system is similar in principle.
In front of a tankless gas based water heater, there will be two or three dials. One is used to adjust the volume and pressure of water, other is used for adjusting the flame intensity by controlling the gas input volume, and the third is used to switch between the number of burners to be used. Some heaters might have digital panels for flame temperature adjustment. In summer, using two burners is enough, while in winter, due to a drop in room temperature, you will need all three burners. There is an on/off switch at the bottom for obvious purposes.
As soon as you switch on the heater and the gas input, along with which the water inlet is opened, the igniting of the gas burners is triggered by the flow of water at adequate pressure. The central working component is the heat exchanger, which consists of coiled tubes with a burner below them to heat water instantly. The water gets heated on its passage through the heat exchanger tubes and it gets delivered through the water outlet. Once an adequate amount of water is supplied by the heater, you can switch it off to stop the heating.
So, are tankless water heaters worth it? The fact that tankless water heaters bring down the energy bills substantially make them worth the investment. The efficiency comes at a higher initial installation cost, but it can be recovered over the long life of these heating systems. Check your water heating volume requirements and the appropriate heating temperature which you require, to decide what size of tankless water heater would be ideal for your home. They are ideally suited for small homes with limited heating water needs. Research the products thoroughly before choosing one.