Less is More

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 10:35 PM


Tankless water heaters are an innovative way to cut water heating costs dramatically while providing more hot water A traditional water heater consists of a holding tank that heats and stores water at a desired temperature, usually between 125 degrees to 145 degrees Fahrenheit, until it is drawn off to be used for showers or other washing within the home. As the temperature drops with incoming water, the heater, which can either be gas or electric operated, comes on, and brings the temperature back up to standard. This takes time requires a lot of energy.

The tankless water heater however only works on demand without holding water. When hot water is needed, such as when a bath faucet is turned on, a water flow turbine signals a control board. The temperature difference between incoming water and the temperature that is needed is calculated and a gas burner ignites (or electric element comes on). This heats water through a heat exchanger to the predetermined temperature as it flows to the faucet. When the faucet is turned off so is the heat exchanger. The water is heated almost instantly and there is no waiting time while tank has to reheat more water. No energy is lost through heating too much water or holding temperature reheating. Cost savings can be as much as $250 a year depending on source of heating used.

Some other advantages of tankless water heaters are that they provide clean water and take up very little space. Traditional water heaters rust and build up metal and other debris. In the course of the standard ten year life time of these tanks that can amount to a lot of dirty water. Tankless have no such debris and have lifetimes typically of 20 years. Further, without the tanks, there is more space for other uses in the home and retro-fitting old homes is not a problem.

Tankless water heaters qualify for tax credits and energy rebates. For more information:

www.energystar.gov

by Erik Richardson

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