How Tankless Hot Water Heaters Work

Tankless hot water heaters are a very popular alternative to conventional storage hot water heaters. While conventional hot water heaters work by containing and storing water, tankless heaters are designed to deliver hot water on demand without the need to store it beforehand. This means that this type of water heater will never run out of hot water. If you’re interested in learning how tankless water heaters work, read on to find out more.   

How the Heating Process Starts

Tankless hot water heaters begin to work as soon as the user turns on a hot water tap. A built-in sensor detects the flow of water that has started and will then use either gas or electricity to heat up the cold water as soon as the water enters the unit. Water heaters that are powered by gas will heat up water with a gas burner, while electrical water heaters will heat up water with electrical resistance heating coils. No matter which type is used, homeowners will have an unlimited supply of hot water they can use at any time. 

How the Water Gets Heated

In order for homeowners to get the hot water they want when they want it, tankless hot water heaters use a built-in heat exchanger that will raise the temperature of the water that comes out of the faucet. A heat exchanger is a device that’s designed to move heat from one source to another; this is achieved using electric coils in electric heaters, or with a gas-fired burner in gas heaters. The water will travel through in a winding pattern along the walls of the heat exchanger, which allows the water to attract as much heat as it possibly can. 

H2: The Electronic Control Unit

Tankless hot water heaters come with an Electronic Control Unit (ECU) that controls how the heater works to heat up the water. An ECU regulates all of the functions of a hot water heater, such as ignition, temperature control, gas or electricity flow and modulation, and cutting off of gas if an issue arises to ensure the safety of everyone inside the house. Since the temperature and flow rate of the inbound water can vary, the ECU regulates the amount of gas or electricity that goes to the burner and turns its temperature up or down. This will keep the water at its set desired temperature. Homeowners are able to control the settings of their heater by using the front-facing panel.

H2: The Difference Between Gas & Electrical Water Heaters

Homeowners can choose to either get a gas or electrical water heater for their household. Besides the type of energy source they use to function, there are various differences you should be aware of. Gas powered heaters are usually the preferred option for heating up whole-house water heating systems, while electrical heaters are usually used with point-of-use models. Which type of water heater model and heating source you should choose will ultimately depend on your water heating needs and various other factors.