- What is a Tankless Water Heater?
What is a Tankless Water Heater?
Yes, you can get plenty of hot water from a water heater that doesn’t have a tank
It doesn’t seem possible. You want to take a long hot shower while you’re running your dishwasher and washing a load of clothes too. How can you possibly get all the hot water you need if it’s not already stored away in a storage tank?
The secret is propane! A propane tankless water heater uses a flame so hot you don’t need to keep your water heated in a tank. You just turn on a hot water faucet. A flow sensor will activate a propane gas burner to heat the water. The heating will continue until you turn off the faucet, at which point the gas burner shuts off.
Take a closer look at how a tankless water heater works:
Leading water heater manufacturer Navien has provided this illustration of how a tankless water heater works.
Why a propane tankless water heater?
- Tankless water heaters can deliver an endless supply of water.
- Their compact size saves about 12 square feet of floor space.
- These systems are on-demand—they heat water only when it’s needed. This feature eliminates standby losses that occur in systems that have hot water storage tanks — like the typical electric water heater.
- They save more than $150 per year in energy costs when compared with typical electric storage water heaters.
- They have 50 to 60 percent lower CO2 emissions when compared with electric storage tank systems.
- Propane tankless systems also qualify for rebates, which could make them even more cost-effective.
Compare your water heating options
|Type of Water Heater
||EF (Energy Factor)
||Annual Operating Costs*
|Propane Condensing Tankless
*For comparison purposes only; costs may vary depending on region and household; based on national averages as complied by the Dept. of Energy, U.S. Energy Information, 2013.
Two great options for propane tankless water heaters
Non-Condensing Tankless System
- Uses a single heat exchanger to heat water on-demand.
- Efficiency rating is usually in the mid-80% range (compared to an old 40-gallon tank that is about 60% efficient).
Condensing Tankless System
- Uses two heat exchangers.
- Secondary heat exchanger captures extra heat before it escapes into the vent system.
- Extra heat is transferred to heat incoming water that flows through primary heat exchanger.
- Efficiency rating is usually in the mid-90% range—about 10-15% higher than a non-condensing tankless unit.