How Tankless Water Heaters Work And How to Keep It Working
Energy conservation is the present global concern and a bulk of the scientific research is spearheaded towards it. Tankless water heaters are one of the latest additions to the home appliances that help in energy management. In contrast to the conventional storage water heater, the tankless version is an energy and space saving device and therefore is the present global favorite.
How the tankless model differs from the storage model
The storage water heater has a very big unit which is often an eye-sore in bathrooms or kitchens. But the sleek and compact tankless water heaters are more of an eye candy. They occupy less space and the manufacturers have seen to it that they design it so as to be most pleasing to the eye.
Storage water heater wastes a lot of energy because it is almost always on a standby mode, heating and reheating water. The tankless models do not have a storage tank but heats water in a small component called heat exchanger. The water is heated only when you need it.
Compared to the tankless water heater, the conventional one has lesser life span and its replacement is a hectic affair. On the other hand, parts of the tankless unit are cheap and easily replaceable.
How the tankless water heater works
Tankless water heaters are powered in two different ways – electrical and gas fired. In the gas fuelled variety you can use propane or natural gas, depending upon the availability.
These water heaters, as their name indicates, do not have a storage tank. Water flows through them as you open the tap. This water gets heated up when it passes through the heat exchanger. The water is heated by a gas burner inside the gas water heater and by an electrical element in an electrical water heater.
The best tankless water heaters are fitted with flow sensors. When a tap is opened, water flows into the water heater and the flow sensor sets off the gas burner in the case of a gas fueled model and it activates the heating element in the electrical model. Thus the cold water gets heated as it flows through the heater. The temperature is often pre-set with the help of a temperature controlling component. A convenient dial is fixed for the purpose. The advantage is that you can decide the temperature of your hot water.
All the top rated tankless water heater brands have included an advanced self modulating technology. This will help in using up just enough energy to heat the required amount of hot water. The temperature regulating technology in the best tankless water heaters will adjust the water flow when more than one hot water dispensing fixtures are used. Thus energy is saved. All these automatic adjustment systems make the tankless water heaters very popular.
The gas fired water heaters will need bigger pipes than that of the centralized heating of your house. It also will need proper venting in order to dispel combustion gases safely. This calls for professional assistance during the installation of a gas water heater. The electrical tankless water heaters will not need venting.
How to keep tankless water heater working
Proper Water Heater Installation
The key to the wellbeing of the tankless water heater is in its proper installation. Care should be taken to see that all the necessary norms for installing the water heater are meticulously fulfilled.
The plumbing for the gas tankless water heater is more complicated and should be done by an expert professional. The flues used for gas connection should be of the correct size. The vent should be installed effectively. It always helps, if the tankless water heater is mounted on an outer wall. The vent flue can be let straight out.
It should be installed in a place where a good amount of combustible air is available. The pilot flame will suffer in less combustible air.
Both the gas and electrical water heaters should be installed with ample service space all around. This will facilitate snooth servicing of the water heaters.
Before installing the electric water heater, expert opinion should be sought to see if the electrical connection of your house has got the required amperage for the electrical water heater. This is of prime importance as an electrical water heater is a heavy-duty appliance. If your existing lines are not strong enough to bear the burden of the tankless water heater, suitable modifications should be made.
Timely Water Heater Maintenance
Another factor that will keep your tankless water heater work for a long time without a hitch is timely maintenance and repair. It is recommended that the surroundings of the water heater are kept tidy and dirt free.
A periodic checking of the water flow and energy usage of the water heater will show you whether it is working with optimum efficiency. If you receive an unusually high energy bill, it is evident that your water heater is using up more energy than necessary and so there is something wrong. Shut off the water, gas or electricity and check the whole plumbing for leaks. A timely discovery of a leak in your gas connection will evade great dangers.
The electrical water heaters should have proper circuit braking system, so that any short circuit or flaw in the connection will cause it to trip, warning you. It is better to call in a professional if you cannot locate the real problem. It is not advisable to tamper with the electrical connections if you are not an expert.
The water heater cleaning should be done at least once a year. The air intake filter and both the water filters also should be cleaned in order to facilitate free airflow and water flow. In the case of gas fired water heater, periodic cleaning of the burners to remove dirt and debris is compulsory for its efficient performance.
If you notice puddles on the floor below the tankless water heater, it means that some or the other joint in the water connection has gone loose. It should be rectified immediately.
If your ground water is hard, it is better to install a water softener in order to avoid corrosion in your heater.
How To Improve The Efficiency Of Your Tankless Water Heater
When you waste hot water, you are wasting energy. So the very first consideration should be to see that no hot water is wasted through any kind of leakage.
A lot of hot water is consumed by various appliances like washing machine and dishwasher. Be sure that you get energy efficient appliances and they use only the required amount of hot water.
If you use low-flow fixtures for showers, you will use less hot water. In the same way, aerators connected to faucets also reduce the unduly high flow of hot water.
When you have an in-depth knowledge of how exactly your best tankless water heater works, you can diagnose the cause of any malfunction. As it is, the tankless water heaters will provide you with more than 20 years of service. Proper installation and maintenance will keep your tankless water heater working for a longer time.