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How Does a Tankless Water Heater Work: Propane Appliances


Tankless water heaters, also known as on-demand water heaters, are a great choice for homeowners looking to improve water heating efficiency or replace an old water heater tank. Unlike traditional water heaters that store and heat water continuously, tankless water heaters only heat water when needed. By switching to a tankless unit, you’ll not only free up valuable space, but ease up on the energy you use.  

Whether you’re in need of a water heater replacement or just looking for ways to improve efficiency around the house, we’ve put together some need-to-knows about tankless water heaters.

What is an On-Demand Water Heater?

An on-demand water heater, also known as a tankless water heater, heats water directly without the use of a storage tank. In short, cold water flows directly through a gas or electric-powered heat exchanger, providing hot water to your faucet. 


How Tankless Water Heaters Work 

When you turn on a hot water faucet in a home with a traditional water heater, you have to wait a moment for the water to warm up. That’s because the entire tank of stored water must be warmed up before making its way out of the faucet to you. With a tankless water heater, cold water from the main water supply passes directly through a heat exchanger before exiting the desired outlet. That means the water coming out of your faucet will be warmer faster.  

The Pros of Propane Tankless Water Heaters 

Propane tankless water heaters are a popular choice for many homeowners looking to upgrade their water heating systems. These units offer several advantages, such as hot water on demand, energy efficiency, and more. Here’s a quick glimpse of some additional benefits:  

  • On-demand water heating improves energy efficiency by only heating what you need. 
  • Tankless design eliminates heat loss and maintains a constant temperature.  
  • Parts are easily replaceable, making maintenance a breeze. 
  • An average life expectancy of 15-20 years brings peace of mind. 
  • Their compact design saves space.  

Learn more about the efficiency and convenience tankless hot water heaters can provide. 

And The Cons 

Much like any other appliance, there are a few drawbacks to consider before investing in a tankless propane water heater, such as higher upfront costs and potential limitations when it comes to the amount of hot water they can produce. Let's take a closer look: 

  • Larger homes may require multiple units to keep up with household needs, increasing the upfront cost. 
  • Some homes may require upgrades to gas lines, electrical wiring, or venting prior to installation. 
  • Low gas levels can interfere with the tank’s ability to ignite and its overall performance.  

Switching to a propane tankless water heater will save you energy, and it’s important you have the right one for your home. We recommend that our customers reach out to us to make sure their tank size and refill schedule will still meet their needs.


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Tankless Water Heater: Installation and Maintenance 

While some tankless water heater maintenance can be performed by homeowners, we strongly recommend installation and routine maintenance be performed by a qualified technician. This not only guarantees the homeowner’s safety, but it also ensures that the tankless water heater has been properly installed and is ready to use immediately.   

What Size Tankless Water Heater do I Need? 

Tankless water heaters come in a range of sizes. We recommend consulting with a professional to ensure the tank you have meets your needs. The chart below can give you some idea of what size may work best for your home.


Source: HomeGuide, How much does a tankless water heater cost? 

When you upgrade to a propane-powered tankless water heater, you’ll want to make sure you have the right sized propane tank to meet your energy needs. A trained propane professional will be able to help you determine that, and you can reach out to our Customer Service Professionals today to get started. 

How Much Propane Does a Tankless Water Heater Use? 

The average propane tankless water heater producing 40,000 BTU/hour will consume about 1.5 gallons of propane per day. However, the final numbers depend on two things: daily hot water usage, and unit efficiency. 

Generally speaking, propane tankless water heaters are efficient and unlikely to increase your propane usage drastically. However, if you have a tankless water heater that’s too small for your home, it will have to work overtime to keep up and use more propane than necessary. It’s not uncommon for homeowners with large properties to invest in more than one tankless heater to increase efficiency. Call your trusted local plumber for advice on your specific water heater needs.  

You can maximize your propane system’s efficiency by getting regular checks, performing preventative maintenance, and scheduling fills on a regular basis. 

How Much Do Tankless Water Heaters Cost? 

Brand, size, and features can all impact the price of a propane tankless water heater, but they usually run anywhere from $1,600 – $4,500 with installation.  

Should I Invest in a Propane Tankless Water Heater? 

If you’ve been dreaming of retiring your bulky water heater tank, or just want to save energy and space in your home, a propane-powered tankless water heater may make the perfect replacement. With their convenience, reliability and efficiency, you’ll wonder why you hadn’t made the switch to propane-powered appliances earlier.   


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