Gas instantaneous water heaters are extremely efficient and most cost effective forms of water heaters because they are not reheating the same water over and over again like storage units do. They only heat the water used and they can run for days without running out of hot water.
There are many makes, models and flow rates. These heaters use a lot of gas when in operation so a large enough gas pipe must be installed to feed the heater so it works to manufacturers specification. The pipe is sized to the particular heater and upgrades of piping is required to when replacing a heater with an increased gas flow heater.
Mechanical instantaneous gas water heaters have evolved very little over the last forty years. Old parts will fit into a new heater of the same make, as if they were made yesterday. As water
passes through the heater once a hot tap is turned on, a venturi valve activates a gas valve, turning on the gas which is ignited by a pilot flame.
The pilot flame is running 24 hrs a day and if the pilot is blown out, safety valves will shut off the gas to prevent unburnt gas escaping. Manufacturers recommend regular servicing of the heater in order to replace seals to ensure a long life. A well maintained heater can last up to 40 years. It is very important to service this type of heater as the life of the heater can be reduced to as little as three years if it is neglected.
In order to reduce gas bills, a variation of the heater available which lights the pilot each time the a hot water tap is turned on. Once the pilot has been detected as lit, gas will be fed to the main burner allowing the water to be heated as it runs through the heat ex-changer.
The combination electronic / gas water heater have been available approximately twenty years. They are more efficient than piloted models. They don't require regular servicing which saves on maintenance. They have a long life and the are smaller in size, at the same time the produce a relatively higher water flow rate.
These heaters are ideal for the cost conscious and are able to feed more than one tap at a time for the higher flow rate water heating units, similar to a storage units.
They also do need a power point which is a consideration when changing from a different type of heater.
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