It’s hard for many people to believe that they can enjoy hot water ‘instantly’ by having a tankless water heater installed.  Today’s modern technology makes it possible for you to save on energy consumption and costs by heating water only when you need it – in other words, on demand.  The thing is, instant and on-demand are really two different things.  Here’s a quick explanation.

On a chilly winter morning, you stumble into the bathroom to take a shower.  You turn on the hot water faucet, and you wait for the water to become hot – and you wait, and wait, and still, the water is cold enough to make chill bumps on top of your chill bumps.  Perhaps you think it’s just the plumbing if you live in an older home, but this really isn’t the correct explanation.  Whether a home is old, new, or equipped with a conventional storage tank or tankless water heater, the above scenario can still happen.

Do instant hot water heaters really provide the water ‘instantly?’  Absolutely, but we all have a different definition of what ‘instant’ is, and having the ability to access hot water on demand is not exactly the same as instant hot water.

What ‘on demand’ hot water really means

Think about how a conventional storage tank works; it’s ‘on’ 24/7, keeping the water inside the tank hot.  When you use all of the heated water in the tank, it is still ‘on’ as it heats up the water that refills the tank.  Regardless of whether you want or ‘demand’ hot water, the tank is always on.  With a tankless water heater, the heating process only begins when you ‘demand’ hot water, or in other words turn the faucet on.  Essentially, you never run out of hot water and enjoy greater efficiency because water is not heated until you need it.

What do you expect when you think ‘instant?’

If you think that the first drop of water that hits the sink once you have turned the faucet on will be hot, you may not think of the process as instant.  The fact is, there is no conventional or tankless water heater on the face of the earth that can produce hot water in a nano-second.  The process of ‘instant’ hot water begins the moment you turn the faucet handle, and a few factors will determine just how fast ‘instant’ really is in your case.  These factors include the proximity of the water heater to the faucet or fixture.  Naturally, the closer the source to the faucet, the faster you will have hot water.

You can make the wait time even shorter by having a recirculation system installed.  These systems are widely available and may be used in retrofit applications or in new home construction.

If you are considering the installation of a tankless water heater in your Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti home or simply have questions, contact Haley Mechanical today.  Our goal is to help residents of southeast Michigan enjoy a more comfortable, convenient home!

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