You may have heard about the existence of “tankless” or “on-demand” hot water heaters, but until you’re really looking at replacing your existing hot water tank, you probably haven’t given them much thought.

A traditional hot water tank consists of a tank or reservoir that is heated to 120-140 degrees, and kept hot by the burners or heating coils 24/7. Depending on how well insulated your hot water tank is, the energy used simply to keep the water from cooling off can be 20-40% of your energy bill. This wastage is called “stand-by loss”, and that is what a tankless hot water heater prevents.

A tankless hot water heater does not keep water hot — until a tap is turned on. At that point, water flows over a series of heating coils, bringing it up to temperature in about five seconds, at which point it heads straight out the tap. And unlike a traditional hot water heater, there is no tank to empty. Provided you don’t have too many taps running at once, a tankless heater can heat water all day.

Because there’s no reservoir in a tankless heater, they are at lesser risk of corrosion, which means they last 20 years, or about twice as long as a traditional model. As they cost about 2.5 times as much as a traditional heater, that makes them quite competitive.

There are one or two drawbacks. The first is that an electric model of tankless heater might not be able to bring very cold groundwater up to temperature — typical households do not have enough amperage to do it, but this is mainly a concern in the winter. Depending on how your electric usage is billed, the heavy draws during peak usage hours may affect your electric bill. (Traditional heaters maintain a small draw over longer periods of time).

Both these issues are solved by the installation of a gas-powered tankless heater, but plumber service will be required to install special ventilation.

 If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of tankless hot water heaters and if they are right for you, contact your friendly neighborhood plumber service, My Plumber, at 1-866-799-7204.