Tankless Water Heaters 101

These slightly less common hot water systems save energy and last a long time--but they aren't without their drawbacks.

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Jeff Huntington
November 16, 2022
minute read

What is a tankless hot water heater and what are the pros and cons to owning one?

A tankless hot water system, also known as a demand-type or instantaneous water heater, is a type of water heating system that provides hot water on demand, without the use of a storage tank. Instead of storing hot water in a tank, a tankless system heats water as it flows through the unit, providing a continuous supply of hot water.


There are several advantages to owning a tankless hot water system. First, because these systems heat water on demand, they are able to provide a continuous supply of hot water, even for multiple simultaneous uses. This can be especially useful for large families or households with high hot water demand.

Second, tankless systems are generally more energy efficient than traditional tank-type water heaters. Because they only heat water when it is needed, rather than constantly maintaining a supply of hot water in a tank, they use less energy and can save homeowners money on their energy bills.

Third, tankless systems are typically smaller and more compact than traditional water heaters, making them a good option for homes with limited space.

The Cons

Despite these advantages, there are also some potential drawbacks to owning a tankless hot water system. One of the main disadvantages is the initial cost of purchasing and installing a tankless system, which can be higher than the cost of a traditional water heater. Additionally, tankless systems require regular maintenance and cleaning to ensure that they are operating efficiently and effectively.

Overall, a tankless hot water system is a good option for homeowners who want a continuous supply of hot water and want to save on energy costs. However, the initial cost and the need for regular maintenance should be considered when deciding whether to purchase a tankless system.

Maintaining a tankless water heater

Tankless hot water heaters require regular maintenance to ensure that they are operating efficiently and effectively. The specific maintenance steps and frequency will vary depending on the make and model of the tankless system, so it is important to refer to the owner’s manual for specific instructions.

However, in general, the following maintenance steps and frequency are recommended for tankless water heaters:

  • Flush the system: Tankless water heaters should be flushed at least once a year to remove any sediment or buildup that can occur in the system. This can help to improve the efficiency and lifespan of the tankless system.
  • Replace the air filter: The air filter in a tankless system should be checked and replaced on a regular basis. The frequency of replacement will depend on the type of filter and the amount of use the tankless system receives.
  • Inspect the system for leaks: Tankless water heaters should be inspected regularly for leaks. This can be done by checking the fittings and connections for any signs of moisture or water damage.
  • Test the system: Tankless water heaters should be tested regularly to ensure that they are operating efficiently and effectively. This can be done by measuring the temperature of the incoming and outgoing water with a thermometer.
  • Have the system professionally serviced: Tankless water heaters should be professionally serviced at least once a year. This will ensure that any potential problems are identified and addressed before they become more serious.

By following these maintenance steps and frequency, homeowners can ensure that their tankless hot water heater is operating efficiently and effectively.

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Brook is an expert in all of Sterling's services and a wide range of HVAC, plumbing, and water and climate systems. He would be happy to discuss the unique context of your home or business and explore possibilities and solutions with you. 

Book a time or give him a call directly at the number below.
(204) 774-5050

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