Compact and efficient: A tankless water heater can be mounted just about anywhere - even in the attic, as shown in the photo. Gas-fired models must have a flue to exhaust combustion products to the outside.
A tankless water heater, also called an on-demand water heater, only begins to heat water when a demand is made by opening a hot water tap, turning on a dishwasher, or operating a washing machine.
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No hot water tank is required (thus the "tankless" designation) because the water is heated on the way to its destination. The flow of water triggers gas burners or an electric heating element inside the heating unit.
When the tap is closed, the heat goes off and energy consumption stops. Because a tankless water heater eliminates standby heat loss, you're not paying to continually reheat water in a tank.
This makes any tankless water heater inherently more efficient than any tank-type water heater.
Tankless water heaters are used extensively in Europe, where energy costs are much higher than they are here. Case studies have demonstrated that replacing an old tank-type water heater with a tankless model can cut water heating expenses by as much as 45%. Tankless heaters fueled by natural gas and propane are more efficient than electric models.
Energy efficiency isn't the only benefit you enjoy with a tankless water heater. While a tank-type water heater can actually run out of hot water, a tankless model can provide an endless supply, as long as there aren't too many users at one time.
Illustration of a Gas Tankless Water heater, with copper heat exchange system.
Tankless water heaters are very compact. A house-size model is about the size of a suitcase, and can be mounted on the wall.
Gas-fired models must be vented to the outdoors, but many of these utilize direct-vent technology, which means that no chimney is required.
Instead, exhaust gas is vented outside through a pipe that extends through an exterior wall.
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