What really sets tankless water heaters apart from their storage counterparts?
Aging technology, a need for greater energy efficiency and increasingly stringent federal guidelines all play a role in the relationship between the two.
The anatomy of a water heater
There are a lot of moving parts in a storage water heater that come together to accomplish a relatively simple task: heat water. The idea behind this conventional system is that water is fed in through a dip tube that automatically replenishes the supply when warm water is taken from a pipe jetting from the top of the tank, according to Fine Home Building.
As the tank fills up, warm water is kept in supply so that when needed, the water is already heated to the correct temperature by a burner on the bottom. Because of this, an anode rod is necessary to keep the inside of the tank from rusting. But unfortunately, this rod decays rapidly. If not properly maintained, the lifetime of the tank can severely depreciate.
Standing water forms calcium deposits, so the inside of the tank should be drained regularly, which adds to the usual maintenance required by this infrastructure. Above all, this design welcomes standby heat loss, or the slow and consistent loss of heat. This requires the system to use more energy to warm the water, which is ultimately why a number of revisions are taking place in the industry to make the equipment more energy efficient, Angie’s List reported.
The anatomy of a tankless water heater
Tankless water heaters are rather simple in design. An optic thermal sensor is outfitted on the cold water input pipe to determine when water is passing through. After this, the supply makes its way to the heat exchanger, then out the hot water valve, Green Building Advisor reported.
This relatively simple process accomplishes a few things. First, there is no standby heat loss, because the water is warmed on-demand. Regular maintenance is less likely needed due to this fact, which increases the longevity of the system.
The real difference between the two is energy efficiency. Tankless water heaters use energy only when needed, rather than keeping a fresh supply of warm water at the ready only to have it go to waste. The growing need to reduce global carbon emissions, as well as the rising price of natural gas and electricity, are fostering a switch to the tankless infrastructure. This also gives homeowners the chance to save at least $100 on their yearly utility bill depending on use, according to the Department of Energy. Overall, these systems can be anywhere from 8 to 34 percent more efficient than conventional water heaters.
Each model has its own pros and cons, and it’s important to know how they work before making your final decision on what to buy.