What Is A Tankless, Water Heater?

Home Inspector with WWW.ExecutiveRestoration.Com

What is a tankless water heater?


A tankless water heater is just that.  It is a water heater without a holding tank and that heats water on demand, as you need the hot water. It typically has a recirculating pump that keeps the water in constant motion when you need the hot water.   I have had a water heater with a tank and I have a water heater, without the tank.  I prefer the tankless water heater.

Remember that a tankless water heater will typically be much more money than a water heater with a tank.  The water heater with the tank holds the hot water and refills the tank, as you need it but the tank also costs more money to operate in my experience.  Let us also remember that both water heaters need to be maintained but less maintenance is required with the tankless.


If you have a water heater that has a tank, please take into consideration that you need to turn off the gas to it or the power to it, once a year and drain the holding tank. If you do not do this, sediment will build up in your tank and your water heater will not last as long. You do not want sediment building up in the hot water heater, because if you do, your water heater will not last as long so keep the tank water heater maintained.  Just put your garden hose to the water heater with the tank and drain the contents of the water heater, yearly.  You might also want to flush the tank.  Once, this is done, you can turn the water back on and fill up the water heater with the tank or turn your natural gas back on and light the water heater.  Please make sure you know what you are doing before starting this process.  If you do not know how to do it, you could damage the water heater with the tank or even have an issue with the natural gas if you do not know how to light the pilot light that keeps the flame going for the hot water heater if you have natural gas.  Please contact a qualified electrician if you have any questions or issues doing this.

If ever in doubt, call up a professional and let them handle this for you. 

I prefer the tankless water heater and I have a unit that is made in Japan.  I would encourage you to spend the extra money on an excellent hot water heater.  I have had my hot water heater that is tankless for about 15 years and it requires very little maintence.


Also, make sure you can get to your hot water heater easily, if there is ever a hot water heater leak or blow out. Shut off the water to the house or to the sink area or toilet area if you ever have a leak in the house.  Make sure that all shut-off valves in the house are lubricated yearly so you do not break off a shut-off valve in the home and then you will have a real mess with water damage.  

My name is David Snell and I am the owner and operator of Executive Restoration LLC that is based out of Mint Hill/Charlotte North Carolina and I have been in business and service since 1987.


If you have any questions or need some guidance or you need someone, out to your house, about an issue, give David Snell a call at Executive Restoration LLC.













Comments (16)

Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello David - very good introductory explanation.  Thorough yet concise.  

Jun 28, 2021 04:20 AM
David Snell 704.545.0098

I am glad it helped you Michael.

Jun 28, 2021 10:50 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

I didn't know a hot water tank needed to be drained once a year. Ooops

Jun 28, 2021 05:02 AM
David Snell 704.545.0098

I would suggest this unless you have an inline filter into the home.


Jun 28, 2021 10:51 PM
Bill Salvatore - YVP Blog
Arizona Elite Properties - Chandler, AZ
Realtor - Valley of the Sun / golfArizona@cox.net

I had a plumber tell me draining it on a regular basis was bad.  Who do you beleive? Great post, thanks for sharing.  It's Monday, we got this

Bill Salvatore

Jun 28, 2021 05:31 AM
David Snell 704.545.0098

If you have an inline filter or if you have good water, you may not.

This is just my suggestion.  Wink.


Jun 28, 2021 10:52 PM
David Snell 704.545.0098
WWW.ExecutiveRestoration.Com - Charlotte, NC

Remember everything gets dirty.

Get you an inline filter if you do not want to keep your hot water heater maintained as often to filter out dirt in incoming water and more to your hot water heater.


Jun 28, 2021 05:49 AM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi David- like Kat Palmiotti I did not know that hot water heaters needed to be drained yearly. I do know that they tend to have a shelf life of about 10 years. We had a house once that was tucked away in the cabana bath by the pool My husband said that if anything happened to it, it was going to be a bear to replace. 

Thank you for the very helpful information. 

Jun 28, 2021 06:36 PM
David Snell 704.545.0098


I just try to educate and inform. Some listen and some do not.



Jun 28, 2021 10:53 PM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Jul 03, 2021 06:22 PM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning David - I have had both tankess, tank, and circulator with a hot water heating system.

Jul 04, 2021 04:11 AM
faye schubert
Branson, MO
Living the Branson Lake Life

I have a gas tankless hot water heater and love it !I'm sure it has contributed to a drop in my electric bills, as I switched from an electric tank water heater. It takes a few seconds to deliver hot water, but it is so worth it.

Jul 04, 2021 06:41 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Great information, David - thank you. I have several clients that changed over to tankless and love them.

Jul 04, 2021 04:17 PM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Water heaters do need maintenance and the tank-less heaters are great for always ready

Jul 05, 2021 07:31 AM
Wendy Rulnick
Rulnick Realty, Inc. - Destin, FL
"It's Wendy... It's Sold!"

David - This is a timely article! My husband and I just bought a Rinnai tankless water heater for an investment home in Florida. Florida insurance companies now require water heaters to be manufactured with 15 years or so, or you cannot get homeowners insurance. The tank type water heater we had worked fine, but it's unacceptable to them, or the insurance rate would have gone from $3000 per year to over $6400 per year. Not kidding. (Florida insurance is out of hand). The Rinnai was ordered from Lowe's and was delivered dented in. Nice!  Hubby is outside right now installing it in the garage. He likes the size profile, as well, compared to all the space the tank water heaters use. Thank you for enlightening all.

Jul 05, 2021 02:11 PM
Raymond Henson, eXp Realty
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

Thank you for the information.  I do not have a tankless water heater, but it sounds like an upgrade would be in order when it is time to replace the one I have.

Jul 06, 2021 07:15 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi, David Snell 704.545.0098 - This is a great explanation for the maintenance of a traditional water heater. In my experience dealing with luxury homes that use tankless water heaters, the homeowner needs to be cognizant of how they use hot water.  Multiple faucets or washing dishes or laundry at the same time as taking a shower can give you cold water surges.  My recommendation would be to assess your needs, number of floors and then decide if additional tankless heaters are needed. Just a thought talking to clients who have them...

Jul 06, 2021 09:12 AM
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Great post.  It's so important to know what you're doing with water heaters as you mention. I'm considering a heat pump water heater due to the air conditioning that takes place in my garage!  You see, I have an electric car and our Phoenix summers are so hot that our garages are much hotter in the summer.  Going into the garage, I hear the fan on my EV blowing air past the battery.  I'm thinking that the heat pump water heater will keep the garage cooler, and the fan won't need to run to cool the battery.  My home inspector owns this type of water heater and loves it.  He says the ROI is about 2 years due to the energy savings.  If it weren't for the temp in my garage I'd consider a tankless though!

Jul 07, 2021 05:14 PM
David Snell 704.545.0098
WWW.ExecutiveRestoration.Com - Charlotte, NC
Jan, I, personally have a tankless water heater just like to one shown and mine is 15 years old. I will get another 20 years out of it easily.
Jul 07, 2021 11:30 PM
Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Front Gate Real Estate - Brandon, MS
601-991-2900 Office; 601-278-4513 Cell

If/when my current water heater bites the dust, I will consider upgrading to a tankless water heater.  I haven't looked at the difference in initial purchase price.

Jul 25, 2021 08:47 PM