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What Should You Know About Tankless Water Heaters Before Buying One in Big Bear

Bear Valley Plumbing & Heating


Tank-style water heaters are steadily going out of vogue and replaced by tankless water heaters. Tankless water heaters, also known as instant or on-demand water heaters, have become a better choice for many homeowners. However, before you take the leap and buy one of these heaters, there are some things you should know. This article will take you through the basics.

What is a Tankless Water Heater?

Tankless water heaters use high-powered burners to heat water through a heat exchanger without needing first to store the water in a tank. These tanks do not need to hold water and heat it gradually over time. Instead, water is heated as users turn on the shower, tap, or whatever outlet through which they demand hot water.

Due to the mechanics of the tankless water heater, it is referred to as an on-demand water heater. Apart from time efficiency, energy efficiency and portability are other reasons this type of water heater has become the first choice for many people. If you want to understand how the tankless water heater works, read further for the details.

How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work in Big Bear?

Tankless water heaters are preferred for their time and energy efficiency. These two significant advantages are a result of the mechanics of the heaters. Tankless water heaters do not have a tank; thus, they heat water as users need. This is how the process goes:

  • When you turn on the hot water tap, cold water flows into the water heater.
  • The burner (gas or electric) ignites the heat exchanger as the water gets to the heater.
  • The heat exchanger uses the heat from the burner to increase the temperature of the water until it reaches the desired level.
  • Tankless water heaters are typically fitted with temperature sensors that detect if the water is at the desired temperature. It adjusts the various parts needed to increase or reduce the temperature if it is not.
  • Then, the hot water flows out to the tap, and the cold water stops moving into the heater. The heater stops working until it is needed again.

This procedure takes only a few minutes and does not keep you waiting while the water heats up. Since the heater does not work while not actively in use, it saves energy and reduces your monthly energy bill.

Types of a Tankless Water Heater in Big Bear

It;s crucial to understand the various types of tankless water heaters before purchasing one. We will look at some of the options you will have to choose from when purchasing a tankless water heater and give you the rundown on each. Let’s get to it.

Gas or Electric

The first categorization of tankless water heater we will examine is the fuel type. Your tankless water heater can come with the option of using either gas or electricity. Both types have their pros and cons, and you should go for the one that best suits you. So, first is the gas tankless water heater.

Gas tankless water heaters use gas and are generally more efficient than their electric counterparts. They heat water faster and are less expensive when compared to electric ones. The downside is that these heaters are more costly to install and require more maintenance. Gas tankless water heaters are slightly less compact than electric ones but are still preferred by many people for their general efficiency.

On the other hand, we have electric tankless water heaters. This type uses electricity and is more environment-friendly. While it is not as efficient as gas, it is noticeably less costly to install and maintain. Electric tankless water heaters also do not require vents to let out residues like the gas-powered types, making them more compact.

Indoor or Outdoor

Another choice you will have to make when choosing a tankless water tank to buy for your home is whether you want to place your unit indoors or outdoors. The choice you make will determine the type of water heater you purchase and other variables such as installation and maintenance costs. Let’s start with the indoor variety.

Indoor tankless water heaters are placed within the house, protecting them from the elements. If you live in a region with harsh weather conditions, it is advisable to go for a tankless water heater of this type. The main downside to consider is that you will have to install ventilation piping to direct airflow, which invariably increases installation costs.

The other option is to get an outdoor tankless water heater. This type is usually cheaper to install as it does not require ventilation pipes. However, you may have to pay more in maintenance over the years. Nevertheless, it is suitable for mild weather conditions and can withstand some onslaught from weather changes such as rain, wind, and snow.

Condensing or Non-condensing

The final differentiation we will examine in this post is that of condensation. Condensing and non-condensing tankless water heaters compensate for each other’s weaknesses. As a result, the two types of tankless water heaters give contrasting options from the purchase cost, installation, maintenance, and energy bills.

Condensing tankless water heaters extract heat from the exhaust before releasing it into the vent. Since the system already had a method to remove heat, it does not require flue pipes and other venting materials. This lowers the installation cost despite its higher purchase price. Condensing tankless water heaters also use the heat extracted to heat more water, contributing to their energy efficiency.

Contrary to how condensing tankless water heater works, the non-condensing ones use heat exchangers. Therefore, they have to release the exhaust outdoors. To do this, you have to install flue pipes to withstand the heat. This leads to additional costs during installation but is relatively cheap to purchase compared to condensing ones.

Pros and Cons of a Tankless Water Heater in Big Bear

Tankless water heaters are all the rave now, and people no longer go for traditional heaters. The media is full of praises for this highly-efficient option, and the reviews are mostly excellent. However, before you buy one for yourself, you should know some of the benefits you stand to gain. You also need to know from the disadvantages you may experience along the line.


Starting with the pros, this section contains some advantages of tankless water heaters generally and some features that place them over tank-type water heaters.


The old type of water heater required tanks used to store and heat hot water to be ready when needed. Thus, the units are usually large, with the tank taking up a lot of space in your home. On the other hand, tankless water heaters do not require any space to store the hot water as the system heats cold water on demand and passes it straight to the required place in the home.


Tankless water heaters are generally more efficient than traditional ones. They heat water fast, usually in seconds, and pass them immediately into the home. In addition, since the heater is not working non-stop like the tank-type ones, it saves energy and reduces your cost in the long and short term. Finally, on efficiency, tankless water heaters allow the heating system to rest while not in use, enabling the system to last a long time.

Unlimited Supply of Hot Water

With the tank-type water heater, you have to manage your use of hot water. Otherwise, you exhaust the amount of hot water available. With a tankless water heater, you have an endless supply of hot water, as hot water will continue to run for as long as your heater works. In addition to the never-ending supply, the water remains fresh as it has not been kept in a tank for an extended period.

Easy to Use

One of the most appealing features of tankless water heaters is that the units are easy to use. You only have to turn on the tap or faucet to make the hot water flow. In addition, some of the latest models are equipped with digital connectivity, which allows you to monitor how the unit is working and control its settings.


Buying a tankless water heater is an excellent investment, as you must have realized after reading to this point. However, there are some cons you should equally learn before making a choice. They are not many but still worth noting. Here are some of them:


The first demerit of tankless water heaters is that they are expensive. You will be spending a lot of money from the purchase to installation. The maintenance is also costly, and you can expect your energy bill to soar high when you get an electric tankless water heater.


Tankless water heaters are sensitive, and you have to understand how. The system does not have hot water stored anywhere but processes it as needed. Therefore, if any of the parts get clogged up or develop a fault, you may be unable to use the heater until you fix it.

Payback is Long

Tankless water heaters have a long lifespan (usually up to 20 years), and this fact is often used as an argument for the cost. However, if you calculate how much you save on the unit per year, you will realize that it takes a long time before you benefit from such an expensive purchase.

Reach out to a Plumber in Big Bear Today!

After reading this article, you have learned the most important things to know about tankless water heaters. Before you buy a unit, make sure to consider all the factors explained and, if necessary, consult an expert. You can reach out to Bear Valley Plumbing and Heating if you are around Bear Valley, California.


If you are looking for a Big Bear plumbing, heating & air conditioning contractor, please call (909) 584-4376 or complete our online request form.