Presumably, you don’t shop for water heaters very often, and if you need a new water heater for your home, it can be hard to figure out what will work best for your family—especially if you aren’t familiar with the different types of hot water heaters.
No worries, today we’ll take a look at the five types of water heaters found in most homes—storage tank, tankless gas water heaters, heat pump, solar-powered, and condensing water heaters. Which type of water heater suits you best will entirely depend on the needs of your household and the cost—including installation.
Types of Water Heaters
1. Storage Tank Water Heater
Most people are familiar with storage tank water heaters. The tank size (capacity) determines how much hot water is available at any given moment. The storage tank is insulated to keep the heated water warm until needed.
Many types of hot water heater tanks come equipped with safety features, such as a temperature control valve and a pressure control valve. This type of water heater is standard in many single-family homes, apartments, condos, and manufactured (mobile) homes. While they are very reliable, the limited capacity of the storage tank can restrict your family’s routine during peak morning demand.
High-capacity tanks are available, but modern storage tank water heaters might require more space than older homes can accommodate. Bradford White and Rheem manufacture some of the most reliable water heaters in this configuration. These types of water heaters are generally the most affordable and easiest to install. Recommended maintenance includes cleaning your water heater tank twice per year to remove sediment and mineral scale.
2. Tankless Water Heater (On-Demand)
Tankless water heaters produce hot water on demand without a storage tank. They are ideal for families and larger households requiring hot water from multiple simultaneous users, such as dishwashers, showers, and laundry.
Since there is no storage “capacity,” the measure of an on-demand water heater is given in throughput or flow rate in gallons per minute. The top-rated tankless water heaters have a flow rate of 8 to 10 GPM. That allows for two to five water usage sources simultaneously with a continuous flow of hot water. Select a tankless water heater with a flow rate that’s appropriate for your family’s needs.
These units work best when fueled by natural gas or propane. Electric models are available but are generally more expensive to run. Tankless water heaters are much more energy-efficient than a storage-tank water heater since they only use energy when needed and aren’t continuously heating a tankful of water. Recommended maintenance includes annual cleaning and descaling.
3. Heat Pump Water Heater (Hybrid)
Hybrid heat pump water heaters use ambient heat in the air and ground for heating water. This type of water heater uses electricity to transfer heat from the air or ground into the water. Heat pump water heaters consume up to 60 percent less power than conventional tank water heaters.
The pump is usually installed on top of the unit, allowing for a large-capacity tank beneath. These units are highly energy efficient and a very cost-effective alternative to conventional water heaters. A hybrid water heater can save on electricity costs since they don’t generate heat—a very power-intensive process.
Hybrid heat pump water heaters require cleaning and descaling twice per year for optimal performance. Heat pump water heaters have limited use in cold areas like basements, or in climates where it remains frosty for long stretches of the year. Hybrid heat pump water heaters are also among the more expensive water heaters.
4. Solar Powered Water Heater
Solar-powered water heaters draw their energy from the sun and are an excellent addition to an existing solar-powered home or if you’re thinking of adding solar panels to your home. A solar-powered water heater is the most energy-efficient water heater you can own. They store water in a tank using a closed-loop system to heat the water.
This unit saves energy on sunny days—especially for homes in warm, sunny climates. However, solar-powered water heaters require a backup system using natural gas or electricity to provide a continuous supply of hot water in poor weather. They are highly energy-efficient and extremely cost-effective to run when the weather is sunny, though. Semi-annual cleaning and descaling are required for optimal performance, and replacement solar panels are a potential, ongoing maintenance cost.
5. Condensing Water Heater
Condensing water heaters are a good option for homes using natural gas as their primary energy source. This type of water heater uses heated exhaust from elsewhere in your home’s natural gas system to heat water, then stores it in a tank similar to conventional water heaters.
More specifically, gas fumes are funneled through a heated coil at the base of the water heater and used to heat water. This type of water heater consumes very little energy since it uses exhaust from gas burned by your oven or furnace. Since it is a storage-tank water heater, you will need one with sufficient capacity to accommodate your family’s peak morning water demands. Routine annual tank maintenance and gas valve cleaning are also required.
Water heaters have immensely evolved in terms of design and functionality over the years catering custom needs of modern households. If you’re going to be shopping for a new water heater or a replacement for your older one, the above description should give you a very comprehensive idea about the available types of water heaters and what to expect out of them.
If you’ve still got any queries, please post them in the comment box below and we’ll try to answer them at the earliest. Also, visit our homepage, bestkitchenbuy.com, for more information on such home appliances.