Tankless water heaters — also called instantaneous, continuous flow, inline, flash, on-demand, or instant-on water heaters — are water heaters that instantly heat water as it flows through the device, and do not retain any water internally except for what is in the heat exchanger coil. Copper heat exchangers are preferred in these units because of their high thermal conductivity and ease of fabrication.
Tankless heaters may be installed throughout a household at more than one point-of-use (POU), far from or without a central water heater, or larger centralized whole house models may still be used to provide all the hot water requirements for an entire house. The main advantages of tankless water heaters are a plentiful, practically limitless continuous flow of hot water (as compared to a limited flow of continuously heated hot water from conventional tank water heaters), and potential energy savings under some conditions due to the use of energy only when in use, and the elimination of standby energy losses since there is no hot water tank. The main disadvantage of these systems are their high initial costs (equipment and installation).