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April 29, 2024

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How Do Continuous Flow Hot Water Systems Work

Sewer Surgeon, your trusted plumbers in Sydney, understands the importance of staying informed about your home's hot water system. Continuous-flow hot water systems are a popular choice for many households due to their energy efficiency and convenience. In this guide, we'll delve into how these systems work and why they might be the right choice for your home.

What is a Continuous Flow Hot Water System?

A continuous flow hot water system, also known as a tankless or instantaneous water heater, heats water on demand as it passes through the unit. Unlike traditional storage tank water heaters that heat and store a finite amount of water, continuous flow systems heat water only when needed, providing an endless supply of hot water.

How Does a Continuous Flow System Work?

When you turn on a hot water tap in your home, cold water travels through the system's heat exchanger. Inside the heat exchanger, a powerful burner or heating element rapidly heats the water to the desired temperature as it flows through the unit. Once heated, the hot water is delivered directly to the tap, shower, or appliance, eliminating the need for a storage tank

Key Components of a Continuous Flow System

  • Heat Exchanger

At the heart of the continuous flow system, the heat exchanger rapidly heats the water as it passes through.

  • Burner or Heating Element

Responsible for generating the heat needed to warm the water to the desired temperature.

  • Flow Sensor

Monitors the rate of water flow and triggers the heating process when hot water is requested.

  • Temperature Control

Allows users to adjust the temperature of the outgoing hot water to suit their preferences.

Advantages of Continuous Flow Hot Water Systems

  • Endless Supply of Hot Water

With a continuous flow system, you'll never run out of hot water, even during peak usage times.

  • Energy Efficiency

Because they only heat water when needed, continuous flow systems are highly energy-efficient, reducing energy consumption and utility bills.

  • Space-Saving Design

Tankless water heaters are compact and can be installed in tight spaces, freeing up valuable floor space in your home.

  • Longevity

Continuous flow hot water systems typically have a longer lifespan than traditional storage tank heaters, reducing the frequency of replacements and repairs.

Considerations Before Installing a Continuous Flow System

1. Initial Cost

While continuous flow systems may have a higher upfront cost than traditional water heaters, the long-term energy savings often outweigh the initial investment.

2. Installation Requirements

Tankless water heaters may require specific venting and gas line requirements, so it's essential to consult with a professional plumber to ensure proper installation.

3. Water Quality

Continuous flow systems are sensitive to water quality, so it's crucial to have your water tested and treated if necessary to prevent damage to the unit.

4. Flow Rate

Before installing a continuous flow system, consider the desired flow rate to meet your household's hot water demands. Higher flow rates are suitable for larger households with multiple bathrooms and appliances requiring hot water simultaneously.

5. Climate Considerations

In colder climates, the incoming water temperature is lower, which can affect the performance of a continuous flow system. Consideration should be given to the system's capacity to deliver hot water at desired temperatures, especially during peak demand periods.

6. Space Requirements

Unlike traditional water heaters, continuous flow systems are typically compact and wall-mounted, saving valuable space in utility rooms or closets. However, ensure adequate space for installation and maintenance access.

7. Gas vs. Electric

Continuous flow systems are available in both gas and electric models. Gas-powered units offer higher flow rates and are often preferred for larger households, while electric units may be more suitable for smaller homes or locations where gas isn't available.

8. Warranty and Service

Before purchasing a continuous flow system, review the manufacturer's warranty and consider the availability of service and support. Choose a reputable brand with a proven track record for reliability and customer satisfaction.

9. Temperature Control Options

Some continuous flow systems offer advanced temperature control features, allowing users to set precise water temperatures and adjust settings for different applications. Consider your preferences and lifestyle when selecting a system with suitable temperature control options.

10. Longevity and Durability

Continuous flow systems are known for their durability and longevity, with many models designed to last 20 years or more with proper maintenance. Consider the expected lifespan of the unit and factor this into your decision-making process to ensure a reliable and cost-effective investment.


Continuous flow hot water systems offer a convenient, energy-efficient solution for providing hot water on demand. By understanding how these systems work and their benefits, you can make an informed decision about whether they're the right choice for your home. For expert advice and installation services, trust Sewer Surgeon to keep your hot water flowing efficiently. Call Sewer Surgeon today to learn more about continuous flow hot water systems and schedule a consultation!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Are continuous-flow hot water systems suitable for all homes?

Continuous-flow hot water systems are generally suitable for most homes. However, factors such as household size, water usage patterns, and gas supply capacity should be considered before installation. It's advisable to consult with a plumbing professional to determine the best option for your specific needs.

Q. Do continuous-flow hot water systems require regular maintenance?

Yes, like any other hot water system, continuous flow units require periodic maintenance to ensure optimal performance and longevity. This may include flushing the system to remove sediment buildup, checking for leaks, and inspecting components for wear and tear. Regular maintenance can prevent potential issues and prolong the lifespan of the system.

Q. Can continuous-flow hot water systems be installed in older homes?

Yes, continuous flow hot water systems can be installed in older homes. However, it's essential to assess the existing plumbing infrastructure and gas supply to determine if any upgrades or modifications are necessary. Consulting with a qualified plumber will help ensure a smooth and safe installation process tailored to your home's specific requirements.

Q. Are continuous flow hot water systems energy-efficient?

Yes, continuous flow hot water systems are known for their energy efficiency. Unlike traditional storage water heaters, which continuously heat and store water, continuous flow systems only heat water as needed, reducing energy wastage. Additionally, many models are equipped with advanced features such as temperature modulation and standby modes to further optimize energy usage.

Q. Do continuous flow hot water systems provide instant hot water?

Yes, one of the primary advantages of continuous flow hot water systems is their ability to provide instant hot water on demand. As soon as a hot water tap is turned on, the system activates, heating water as it flows through the unit. This eliminates the need for a storage tank and ensures a constant supply of hot water whenever needed.