How Tankless Water Heaters Were Invented

Posted On: October 11, 2021

Since the first concept of a water heater and its invention, technology has come a long way.  Manufacturers now have tankless water heaters and even solar-powered water heaters.  At Short Pump Heating & Air, we provide repair service and maintenance on all water heaters, so we wanted to provide some history on how this technology has evolved over the years!

The Evolution of Water Heaters

In the 1800s, the first official water heater could be claimed as a fire or stove situated underneath a bath or cauldron.  It wasn’t until 1868 that a painter, Benjamin Waddy, invented the first modern version of a water heater, known as the “geyser.”  This geyser used hot gas to heat water flowing through pipes within a contraption to heat the water instantaneously.  Because this geyser didn’t include a ventilation system, it was extremely dangerous to users due to carbon monoxide leaks.

The next advance in technology was by Edwin Ruud, who took Waddy’s model a bit further and installed a flue to vent out the excess gas, which became quite popular.

In 1929, Stiebel-Eltron patented the first tankless water heater, the first coil immersion model with the ability to heat water on demand.

Modern Tankless Water Heaters

In today’s world of variety among brands, sizes, and models, there are many advantages and a few disadvantages of tankless water heaters you should be aware of.

Pros of tankless water heaters include:

  • Size – They take up much less space than tank water heaters.
  • Life span – They last almost twice as long as tank water heaters.
  • Heating power – They provide unlimited hot water since water is heated as it comes as opposed to the tank’s “batch” method.
  • Savings -Tankless water heaters are far more energy-efficient and save money in the long term.

Cons of tankless water heaters include:

  • Cost – The initial cost of installation is generally higher.
  • Determining the maximum output needed – You need to calculate expected usage accurately, or you could run into output challenges.

If you are interested in learning more about tankless water heaters or need a repair or replacement, call 804-364-9040 today to speak with one of our expert plumbers or get a free quote!

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