How Does Water Heater Work?

Nobody likes a cold shower. Let’s face it; the average human is not IceMan. Cold water can kill you if you are not following IceMan techniques of breathing. Because of that, 99% or even more homes have water heaters. The water heater is not only used for showering but also for other uses like doing dishes or merely washing hands. If you are older and have sensitive teeth, then you understand that using cold water early in the morning can bring headache and the day can be ruined even before it started.

How Does Water Heater Work

By having water heater, all these problems can go away. Today you don’t need to buy expensive large water heating systems; you can buy a simple electric point of use water heater which can heat only one pipe. This simple and affordable water heater is very useful for morning hygiene routine.

Large water heaters can be expensive, and even if you can afford them, you will have maintenance costs that you should really consider into calculations before deciding to buy a large water heating system.

How Does Water Heater Work

Today most popular water heaters are tankless heaters. These heaters don’t have a water tank, and because of that, they don’t have standby heat loss. In other words, you won’t be burning money, while hot water is not used. Heating is done with electricity, propane, or natural gas. Water is heated on demand.

Tank water heaters, on the other hand, store water in a tank. Water in a tank is on proper temperature decided by the thermostat. As soon as the water temperature drops below the pre-set temperature on thermostat energy will be consumed to bring the water temperature up. As you see, stand by loss is evident here. The larger the water tank, the more energy will be spent.

We can clearly say that tankless water heaters are more economical because they don’t waste power to heat water that is not sued; they only heat water on demand.

Types of Water Heaters

There are many types of water heaters, and we can categorize them in many different ways, but when you ask a seller what kind of water heaters they have, he will answer you that they have old tank heaters and new on demand tankless heaters. 

Tank Water Heaters

As the name says, these heaters store hot water in a tank. As previously mentioned as soon as the temperature of hot water in the tank drops, energy will be consumed to bring it back up. 

These are old systems that are no longer used in Europe and many other countries all over the world that have expensive gas or electricity. It is just not economical to heat water that is not used. And as the gas prices go up with time tank water heaters will become extinct. Another problem with a tank water heater is the size. The tank needs to be large enough to cover all family members. If the water storage is small, then the last family member who will take a shower will have cold water. Once all the hot water is consumed, water heater will need some time to heat it on the desired level.

The biggest advantage of tank water heater is the price. These heaters are extremely affordable and if you compare them to tankless heaters, you can pay for them up to 4 times less money.

Tankless Water Heaters

The popularity of tankless water heaters is growing at a rapid speed in the USA. The government even gives taxable rebates for using a tankless water heater. The reason for that law is understandable because, overall, less energy will be consumed, and the environment will thank us in the end for that. Tankless water heaters heat water on demand. As soon as you take a shower heating process starts. You will notice a delay in hot water. This delay will depend on the distance of the bathroom pipe and tankless water heating device. The longer the distance, the higher the delay. 

You will need to let water run until it gets to hot water. We can say that your water bill will go up because of that, but the money you pay for that cold water is significantly less than if you would use a tank water heater.

Tankless heater has many advantages; the size is one of them. The size of a tankless water heater is so small that you can basically put in anywhere you like. You can use a point of use electric water heater and significantly save money. Point of use water heaters are affordable, but they will work only on one pipe. If you like to use the whole house on demand water heater, you will need to go with a gas heater. Gas on demand water heater can have unlimited hot water; as long as there is the gas you will have hot water. Approximately with a tankless water heater, you can save up to 20% from the water heating bill.

The only concern I have about tankless water heater is the initial price you need to pay. The other concern is future. Some researches say that in future gas will be more expensive than electricity. But these are just speculations, and nobody knows what will happen in the future. But if you want to be on the safe side, maybe using electrical on demand water heaters is a better solution.

You need to understand that gas heaters have more power than electrical and will heat water faster.


The decision is all on you. It is a hard one. To go with an affordable tank water heater and pay more on energy to heat water or to go with a tankless water heater that saves power in the long run. The decision is all on you. If you are single, maybe a small tank water heater is not a bad investment. But today we have a point of using on demand water heaters that are incredibly affordable. In my humble opinion, a tankless water heater is a better choice in all scenarios.

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