The secret of getting all the hot water you need—without a tank
When Minnesotans first hear about the beauty of a tankless propane water heater, they’re skeptical at first but they remain true to staying Minnesota Nice. They politely ask: How is it possible to get all the hot water I need if it’s not already stored away in a storage tank? Suppose I want to take a long, hot shower while someone else is running the dishwasher and washing machine at the same time? What is the benefit of a tankless water heater vs. a tank?
The secret is combining propane with tankless technology! A propane tankless water heater uses a flame so hot it’s not necessary to keep your water heated in a tank. You simply turn on a hot water faucet and a flow sensor will activate a propane gas burner to heat the water. The heating will continue until you turn off the faucet, which shuts off the gas burner.
Leading water heater manufacturer Navien has provided this illustration of how a tankless water heater works.
Why a propane tankless water heater?
Tankless water heaters deliver an endless supply of water.
Their compact size saves roughly 12 square feet of floor space.
These systems are on demand, so they heat water only when it’s needed. That feature eliminates standby losses that occur in systems with storage tank water heaters like the typical electric water heater.
They save more than $150 per year in energy costs compared with typical electric storage water heaters.
They have 50 to 60 percent lower CO2 emissions compared with electric storage tank systems.
Propane tankless systems also qualify for rebates, which can make them even more cost-effective.
Watch an electric storage water heater tank being replaced with a propane tankless system.
Compare your propane water heating options
Type of water heater
EF (Energy Factor)
Annual Operating Costs
Propane Condensing Tankless
Two great options for propane tankless water heaters
Noncondensing Tankless System
Uses a single heat exchanger to heat water on demand.
Efficiency rating is generally in the mid 80% range (compared to an old 40-gallon tank that is about 60% efficient).
Condensing Tankless System
Uses two heat exchangers.
Secondary heat exchanger captures extra heat before it escapes into the vent system.
Extra heat is transferred to heat incoming water that flows through primary heat exchanger.
Efficiency rating is generally in the mid 90% range, about 10-15% higher than a noncondensing tankless unit.