Tankless hot water heaters are becoming a must-have appliance in homes these days. They purport to offer many benefits - instant and endless hot water, less wasted space, and a smaller carbon footprint as well. They can even be used to power radiant underfloor heating that is a luxury found in many green homes.
Here are some basics about how tankless hot water heaters work. Standard non-electric storage hot water heaters typically are about 60% efficient, meaning that 60% of the energy in whatever fuel they burn is converted into heat for your water. The other 40% of energy is wasted, some due to inefficient burners and some due to the gradual cooling of water stored in the tank through time. Tankless or on-demand hot water heaters address both of these issues: they eliminate the storage-related losses, and they employ sophisticated burners and controls to improve on the combustion efficiency. Top-of-the-line models can be 80-85% efficient, which results in a 30+% savings on your hot water energy bills and your carbon footprint compared to your tank in the corner. (electric unit savings will be lower, since storage electric HW heaters already have efficient heating mechanisms).
Efficient hot water heating is a true green no-brainer. Not only are they light on the planet, but they will also increase the comfort of your home and the effectiveness of your appliances. Fortunately, you now have many great options to choose from!