Wouldn’t it be nice to instantly have hot water whenever you choose? That’s how on demand water heaters work. They provide you with an endless source of hot water any time they choose.
Here at Quality First Plumbing & Heating, we talk continuously about the differences between tankless water heaters and hot water circulation system. Let’s look at how both systems work.
Tankless water heaters heat the water directly without the use of a storage tank. Because they don’t store and constantly heat a water source, they avoid heat loss that occurs with a traditional storage water heater. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through the pipe and into the tankless unit. Either an electric element or a gas burner turns on, instantly heating the water as it travels through.
Though tankless water heaters sound great in theory, and they are widely talked about as green technology, they do have their problems. Because hot water is heated on demand, the flow rate can be limited. For example, if a family is using several water sources at once (dishwasher, clothes washer and more than one shower) on demand heating can be severely limited. To overcome this problem, multiple units may need to be installed throughout the house, eliminating any cost savings because of the high price of the units themselves.
Through our experience, we’ve found many clients do better with a hot water circulation system instead. A hot water circulation system uses the existing hot water heater already in place. A recirculating pump is installed to allow a constant flow of water to occur in your pipes and throughout your home. The cooled water that exists in your lines is pumped back into the water heater for heating, while the hot water is fed directly to the source when you turn on the faucet, giving you on demand hot water. In general, one pump is sufficient to control the water supply of a home. And with the cost significantly less than that of a multiple unit tankless system, cost, energy and water savings is seen almost immediately.