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How Do Tankless Water Heaters Work?

Running out of hot water while you’re in the middle of a shower is frustrating to say the least. If it’s happened one too many times, you might be considering a tankless water heater for your home.

Read more: How Do Tankless Water Heaters Work?

Traditional water heaters store heated water in a tank and have a limited capacity. This can be a somewhat wasteful method of heating water since it’s always storing a large quantity of heated water, even when you’re not using your plumbing.

When you run out of hot water in a shower, it’s because there is no more hot water currently stored in the tank and you have to wait for it to refill and heat more water. Traditional water heaters can also take up a lot of space in your home.

A tankless water heater heats cold water immediately after it enters the unit, giving you an essentially unlimited supply of hot water. They are powered by either gas burners or by electrical resistance heating coils. Because they only heat water while they are being used, they can save you money on your electric or natural gas bills.

If you’re considering installing a tankless water heater, it’s important to know the base temperature of the groundwater in your climate and how much water it supplies measured in gallons per minute.

What to Know About Tankless Water Heaters

When you consider installing a tankless water heater, it’s important to consider a few factors like cost and efficiency for your specific needs into your thought process.


A tankless water heater can save you a sizeable amount of money on your energy bills and is considered more environmentally friendly than the tanked alternative. They may have some more upfront costs and might require upgrades to your natural gas line and the installation of a venting system if you’re installing a tankless water heater for the first time.

They can last up to five to ten years longer than a traditional tank water heater, and maintenance and part replacement can extend their life even further. This means fewer water tanks in landfills.

For larger homes, more than one tankless water heater might be necessary to meet the requirements of the household, which can be cost-prohibitive for some.

Flow Rate

To know the flow rate for a tankless water heater in your home you should establish the temperature of your groundwater. The average groundwater temperature in the District of Columbia is roughly 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

After you establish the coldest temperature for your groundwater, you need to estimate what temperature would be the most ideal for your tankless water heater to produce and what the difference is between the two temperatures.

Then you will need to add up the flow rate (GPM) needed for your home. Do this by adding up the flow rate needed for all your appliances, and you will have an idea of what you need from your tankless water heater.

A plumber experienced with properly sizing and installing tankless water heaters should be able to help you determine an appropriate unit for your home.

Is a Tankless Water Heater Worth It?

Ultimately, the decision to switch to a tankless water heater is up to the homeowner. A tankless water heater is more compact, more energy efficient and can provide you with an effectively endless supply of hot water on demand.

There are a handful of potential downsides, like failing to get a tankless water heater with adequate flow and a slight delay in hot water when you first turn on a hot water faucet. A lack of adequate maintenance can also result in problems. Tankless water heaters will cost you more than a tank water heater, including a potentially higher upfront installation cost.

Overall, though, they do cost less to operate compared to tank water heaters. 

Decades of Experience in Plumbing in Rockville, MD

If you’d like to learn more about tankless water heaters or other plumbing options, contact Vito Services. We service the greater Washington D.C. area and can help you find the best water heating solution for your situation. Learn more about tankless water heaters on our website or call us at (301) 315-6100.

How Do Tankless Water Heaters Work?
Article Name
How Do Tankless Water Heaters Work?
How do tankless water heaters work?
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Vito Services

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