The concept of a tankless water heater generated from the idea of creating hot water without the need to store it in a tank and waste energy constantly reheating the water. It is a push and get solution, meaning you turn on the tap and the water coming through the line nearly instantly converts into the given temperature. Hence, this saves gas and electricity energy immensely.
Every buyer is interested in finding out how tankless water heaters work and what is the mechanics behind a tankless system conforming to supply and demand of a household. Let’s unfold these basic and most frequently asked queries followed by some tips for choosing the right tankless water heater.
Tankless Water Heating System
There are multiple websites that have information about how tankless water heaters work. We would like to explain it here in the most simplistic and easy to understand manner that would solve all questions regarding tankless water heatings functions in one go-
Heat Exchangers Installed For Instant Hot Water
If you have a conventional water heater installed right now, take a look at it, it is holding certain amount of water, continually heating it a temperature that you would need for your next shower, say 2 hours from now. Heating water on an on-going basis for 2 hours until it is used, leads to wastage of energy.
To combat this wastage of gas or electricity, heat exchangers are installed in the tankless water heating system. As soon as a tap is turned on, water pulls from its source in its original temperature, the heat exchanger converts it into the desired hot temperature, and you instantly get hot water to your tap! The exchanger remains on standby the whole while, it activates only when water passes through the system. It is extremely user-friendly and works in an easy to understand manner.
The exchanger is the main component to a tankless water heater and is what saves you money on energy, since it only activates when it is needed. This stands in contrast to conventional hot water heaters, that heat the water in advance and wait for you to use it. This is very inefficient and leads to higher utility bills quite quickly.
Point-Of-Use Or Whole-House Heating Solution According to Consumption
Tankless water heaters, thus, provide hot water through its electric coil or gas-fired burner (heat exchanger) which converts the temperature of water as it passes through. To meet the varying demands of consumption, tankless water heaters come in two categories – Point of Use and Whole House.
Point of Use water heating systems are for lesser usage, such as the kitchen tap or one other outlet at max. This category is handy, compact and easy to install. Due to it’s small size, it can be fixed anywhere near the kitchen tap which would reduce the lag time- interval between tap being turned on and water flowing. On the contrary, if more than two sources of water consumption need to be catered with higher consumption, Whole-House Tankless Water Heating Solutions are better.
Tankless Water Heating System Supply & Demand
From the many uses that Tankless Water Heating System comes in a household includes bathroom usage, hot tubs, washing machines for clothes, dishwashers and kitchen usage. Even if it is a nuclear family, but having 4 to 5 family members, chances are two or more people are going to need hot water at the same day during the day (don’t forget about showers, dishwashers, etc!).
Typically, most tankless water heating systems are designed to provide approximately 2 to 5 gallons of hot water per minute (GPM). This supply rate may definitely be sufficient for smaller family demands, but for larger ones, it is essential to either choose a gas lit water heater or install more than one water heaters.
For a greater understanding on how tankless water heaters supply hot water and which water heater would be the best to choose according to household needs, read the information given below.
Factors that Determine Supply Rate of Tankless Water Heaters According to Demand
The features in a tankless water heater that determine its capability of providing hot water include the size of the water heater that is being purchased, along with its fuel capacity and availability coupled with its cost. Opting for a sustainable fuel source such as gas instead of electricity would be better and environment friendly. As for the cost, the installation and buying budget that one has points out to the average GPM that is delivered by the water heating system.
Always check the GPM of the tankless water heater to understand its supply ability. Here’s a small example that would aid in the process of understanding how GPM works. For instance, the temperature of groundwater is 35 degrees, and the required temperature for a hot bath is 103 degrees, so the difference of 103-35= 68 degrees is the required rise that the Tankless Water Heater must be able to provide.
Thus, choose at least a GPM converter that is suitable for a 68 degrees hike. If the GPM of a tankless water heater is 2.2 GPM and the shower head of the bathroom exits 5 GPM then it would be insufficient, even if the latest style shower head of 2.2 GPM is installed, the tankless water heater would be insufficient as it would mean that while hot water is being used in the bathroom it cannot be used in any other secondary source.
Therefore, one must be able to first calculate flow rate or amount of water that needs to be heated at one time and then compare it with the GPM offering of the Tankless Water Heater, this is the main source of making sure if the heating solution is capable of fulfilling demands of a household or not. For more detailed description of flow rate calculation per tap and room’s usage, visit How Stuff Works. Therefore, tankless water heaters are capable of fulfilling varying demands of a household, depending on which model has been chosen.
I hope you enjoyed this article and got some use out of it. If you are interested in learning more about tankless water heaters and seeing reviews of some of the top models, the reviews on our homepage have you covered. Thanks for visiting!
William Fisher is an independent contractor from Austin, Texas as well as the editor and main contributor to TanklessHeat.org. He has over 30+ years experience in the general contracting field. Check him out on Google +
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