Water Heaters

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing an Instant Hot Water Heater


The Ultimate Guide to Choosing an Instant Hot Water Heater

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There's nothing quite like waking up on a cold winter morning and stepping into a cascade of warm water. Unfortunately, that pleasurable experience can quickly turn torturous if your hot water heater decides to act up. The good news is, this can be a thing of the past with an instant hot water heater.

Understanding Instant Hot Water Heaters

Instant hot water heaters, also known as tankless water heaters, provide hot water on-demand, unlike traditional water heaters that store hot water in a tank. This innovative gadget begins heating the water when you turn on the faucet, providing you with the needed hot water instantly.

Working Mechanism of an Instant Hot Water Heater

Understanding how an instant hot water heater works can shed light on its efficiency. As the name implies, these heaters deliver hot water immediately, so, how does this system work?

Operation Process

When you open your hot water tap, the tankless water heater detects the flow. The detection triggers the heating elements - either electric elements or a gas burner, which then heats the cold water as it passes through. As soon as you shut off the tap, the system turns off too. This sequential operation ensures energy isn't wasted on heating unused water, making the instant hot water heater a more energy-efficient choice.

Types of Instant Hot Water Heaters

Instant hot water heaters come in two primary types, each presenting unique benefits and suited to different settings. Determining the best instant hot water heater type depends on your individual needs in terms of hot water demand, available energy sources, and budget.

Electric Instant Hot Water Heaters

These types of heaters use electric resistance coils to heat water. They are generally more affordable to purchase and install but might end up consuming more energy, depending on your area's electricity cost.

Gas-Fueled Instant Hot Water Heaters

These heaters utilize a burner to heat water and often have larger capacities than their electric counterparts. A gas instant hot water heater might be more expensive to buy and install. However, depending on your area gas costs, it can be more cost-effective in the long run.

Why Choose an Instant Hot Water Heater?

While the initial cost of an instant hot water heater may be higher than traditional models, their long-term benefits may outweigh the cost. Here are several reasons to consider investing in an instant hot water heater:

  • Energy-efficient: Instant hot water heaters only heat water when you need it, ensuring less energy waste. According to Energy.gov, instant heaters can be 24%-34% more energy-efficient than traditional models for households that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily.

  • Space-saving design: With their compact design, instant hot water heaters save a lot of space and can be installed virtually anywhere in your home.

  • Longer lifespan: Instant hot water heaters typically last longer than their tank counterparts, averaging 20 years or more with proper maintenance.

Installing an Instant Hot Water Heater

Installing an instant hot water heater involves removing the old heater, determining the best location for the new heater, and setting up all connections. While some people may choose to do it themselves, it's best to hire a professional plumber, especially for gas models since incorrect installation can lead to gas leaks.

Considerations for Installation

Every home is unique, so the installation process can vary. However, some important considerations remain consistent:

  • Location: Since an instant hot water heater is smaller, it offers more flexibility in choosing a location for installation. It can conveniently be installed in a closet, on a wall, or even outdoors with proper weatherproofing.

  • Energy source: The energy source - gas or electricity, must be considered. Different heaters require different hook-ups and venting systems especially for gas heaters.

Maintaining Your Instant Hot Water Heater

While instant hot water heaters last longer, regular maintenance can significantly extend their lifespan further and ensure consistent efficiency. This includes flushing your heater at least once a year to prevent sediment buildup, inspecting for leaks, and checking the system's operation.

An instant hot water heater can be a significant upgrade for your home, providing rapid hot water while saving you from high energy costs. Consider your home's hot water demand, available energy sources, and available space to achieve the best fit for your home.

Instant Hot Water Heater: Frequently Asked Questions

How does an instant hot water heater work?

An instant hot water heater, also known as a tankless water heater, works by using a heat exchanger to boost the heat. When you turn on the hot water tap, the cold water gets drawn into the unit and the heat exchanger warms it up. Unlike traditional water heaters, tankless water heaters heat water directly and instantly, hence their name.

Does an instant hot water heater provide hot water continuously?

Yes, an instant hot water heater can provide an unlimited supply of hot water, as long as it's operating within its capacity. Since it heats water on demand, you don't have to worry about running out of hot water as you might with a traditional storage tank water heater.

How energy-efficient are instant hot water heaters?

Instant hot water heaters can be much more energy-efficient than traditional water heaters. Because they only heat water when it's needed rather than maintaining a full tank of hot water at all times, they use less energy. The exact amount varies, but many models can be up to 34% more energy-efficient.

What size of instant hot water heater do I need?

The size of the instant hot water heater you need depends on your hot water usage. This is determined by the number of appliances and people in your home using hot water simultaneously. For example, if you have a large family and multiple bathrooms, you might need a larger unit. Most suppliers can help you determine the right size for your needs.

Can I install an instant hot water heater myself?

While it's possible to install an instant hot water heater yourself, it's generally recommended to have a professional perform the installation. This ensures that the unit is installed correctly and safely. Professional installation also usually comes with a warranty for extra peace of mind.

Can an instant hot water heater replace a traditional one?

Yes, an instant hot water heater can replace a traditional water heater. Whether a tankless model will fit in the same space as your old heater depends on various factors like your plumbing system. However, because instant hot water heaters are typically much smaller than traditional tanks, they often fit more easily into different spaces.

How much does an instant hot water heater cost?

The cost of an instant hot water heater can vary greatly, depending mostly on the model and size. The initial cost is often higher than for a traditional tank water heater, but many homeowners find that the energy savings they get in the long run make the investment worthwhile.

Do instant hot water heaters require regular maintenance?

Just like any other home appliance, instant hot water heaters will perform better and last longer with regular maintenance. This often includes activities like flushing out the system to remove sediment and scale, checking for leaks, and inspecting the heat exchanger. Your heater's user manual should provide specific maintenance instructions.

How long does an instant hot water heater last?

With proper maintenance, an instant hot water heater can last up to 20 years – significantly longer than most traditional tank water heaters. The longevity of the unit also greatly depends on factors such as water quality and usage pattern.

The Pros of Instant Hot Water Heaters

Energy Efficiency

  • Instant hot water heaters, also known as tankless water heaters, are more energy-efficient as compared to traditional tank water heaters. They only heat water as and when needed, reducing energy consumption.

  • According to the U.S. Department of Energy, instant water heaters can be 24% to 34% more energy efficient for homes that consume a lot of hot water - around 86 gallons per day.

Unlimited Supply of Hot Water

  • One of the biggest advantages of the instant hot water heater is that they provide an endless supply of hot water as they heat water on demand.

  • Unlike traditional tank heaters that can run out of hot water because of the limited capacity, instant heaters can provide hot water for as long as you need it.

Long Life Span

  • Most instant hot water heaters have a longer life span than traditional water heaters. They can last up to 20 years, as compared to the usual 10-15 years lifespan of tank water heaters.

  • This makes them a more cost-effective choice in the long run, despite the initial higher purchase cost.

The Cons of Instant Hot Water Heaters

High Upfront Costs

  • The initial purchase and installation cost of an instant hot water heater are typically higher than that of traditional tank heaters.

  • The exact cost can vary based on the brand and model of the heater as well as the complexity of the installation.

Requires Professional Installation

  • Instant hot water heaters need to be installed by a professional to ensure proper operation and safety. This adds to the initial cost of the heater.

  • Some models may require modifications to your home's electrical system or gas line, which can further increase installation costs.

Limited Flow Rate

  • One potential limitation of the instant hot water heater is its flow rate. A single heater may not be able to supply enough hot water for simultaneous, multiple uses in large households.

  • For instance, if you're taking a shower and someone else in the house turns on the dishwasher, you might experience a drop in water temperature. This is one other consideration to take into account when considering an instant hot water heater.

May Require Regular Maintenance

  • While most models are built to last, instant hot water heaters might require more regular maintenance to keep them running efficiently and prolong their lifespan.

  • Depending on the hardness of your water, you may need to conduct regular descaling procedures to prevent a build-up of scales that can affect the performance of your instant hot water heater.


Are you tired of waiting for the water to heat up before you begin your chores? The answer may just be the instant hot water heater. With this device, you get immediate access to hot water, saving you time and making your domestic tasks much more efficient. Prepare for a completely stress-free kitchen and laundry experience when you invest in these high-performance heaters.

Moreover, we can't forget about the eco-friendly nature of the instant hot water heater. Not only does it lessen our carbon footprint by only heating the water we use, but it also substantially reduces our utility bills. Through this investment, you're hitting two birds with one stone - aiding the environment and your pocket!

Choosing the best hot water solution for your home is a crucial decision. When picking, always consider comfort, savings, and efficiency. The instant hot water heater fits the bill in all these arenas. By taking the leap and installing one in your home today, you're ensuring a future marked by convenience, sustainability, and more savings!

About KYPD Plumbing

Welcome to KYPD Plumbing! We're a locally owned and operated plumbing company based in Nicholasville, KY. Serving both residential and commercial clients, we take pride in our dedicated service and commitment to customer satisfaction. Whether it's a small leak, a major pipe replacement, or anything in between, we've got you covered. Our team handles each job professionally, efficiently, and with a good old-fashioned touch of Southern hospitality. At KYPD Plumbing, we understand how important your home or business is to you, and we're here to keep your plumbing running smoothly.

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