Tankless Option Improving

July/August 2005
A version of this article appears in the July/August 2005 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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July 01, 2005
If cost and installation barriers can be overcome, tankless water heaters will likely replace the storage water heater that for over 50 years has been a part of American culture.
        Storage gas water heaters are the predominant water-heating appliances used in homes in the United States.They have a low first cost, and their hot water delivery meets the expectations of most U.S. homeowners. But storage water heaters are a technology that has not changed significantly over the past thirty years. Instantaneous, or tankless, gas water heaters on the other hand have changed in recent years—for the better.The newer tankless water heaters now offer significant improvements over storage tank units.         Variable burner capacity, higher heating capacities, and sophisticated controls have markedly improved the performance and hot water delivery characteristics of tankless units. The elimination of standing pilot lights has led to a noticeable increase in the efficiency of tankless units; Energy Factors (EFs) for tankless heaters are more than 30% greater than EFs for typical storage gas water heaters. Efficiency isn’t the only means in which these units have a very clear advantage over storage-type heaters:Tankless water heaters can provide a limitless supply of hot water; they can be more maintainable than storage water heaters; and their small size frees up floor ...

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