A water heater is one of those appliances most homeowners take for granted. That is until it stops working.
You’ll want to know what you’re dealing with when that day comes. Here’s a quick overview of the most common water heaters to help you decide what kind to buy.
Tank-type water heaters are the standard found in most homes. They consist of an insulated tank that holds 30-50 gallons of water and is heated by natural gas, propane, or electricity. A pipe emerges from the top and delivers hot water to your kitchen, bathroom, or other faucets. They operate 24 hours a day, even when you are not at home.
The heating element in a conventional tank can become encrusted with minerals and sediments. Over time, this reduces thermal transfer and leads to insufficient heat generation. Corrosion of the tank can occur as a result of this, and it can also reduce energy efficiency.
Energy-efficient models of traditional tanks have a much longer lifespan than older, less efficient units. However, they still require significant energy to keep the water hot, and can result in higher utility bills. Replacing a tank water heater with a more efficient model can result in hefty electricity bill savings.
When your old tank-style heater reaches the end of its lifespan, it’s time to consider upgrading to a tankless model. Tankless water heaters heat water only when needed, eliminating standby energy losses.
The incoming groundwater is heated by a gas burner or electric heating elements in the unit’s heat exchanger. A typical heater is rated to provide an inevitable temperature rise at a specific flow rate. For example, if you need to take hot showers in South Florida with a typical groundwater temperature of around 72 F, look for a model capable of a 68 F temperature rise at 2 GPM.
These models are ideal for homes with limited floor space since they occupy less room than traditional tanks. They also have a longer life expectancy and lower environmental impact than their storage tank counterparts. Some tankless models even feature replaceable parts, extending their useful life further. They’re also more energy efficient than whole-house models, with the added benefit of reduced long-term utility costs.
Most homeowners don’t spend much time looking for a new water heater until their old one springs a leak, prompting an urgent call to the plumber and an opportunity to choose a model with real energy efficiency. The right choice can lower your energy bills and environmental impact.
Electric resistance water heaters needlessly draw excess electricity from the national grid, contributing to high utility bills. They also burn fossil fuels, releasing greenhouse gases and toxic air pollutants.
The same applies to gas tanks and point-of-use water heaters that burn natural gas or propane. However, heat pump water heaters that use low-carbon or renewable electricity are much more efficient and can significantly reduce energy bills compared to conventional models.
Water heaters are one of the most essential appliances in your home, heating the incoming cold water to produce hot water for dishwashers, clothes washers, and showers. They also store hot water for future use. Most water heaters are powered by electricity, gas, or burner oil; some use solar energy to heat water.
Electric water heaters are simple, easy to install, and do not require natural gas lines or venting. However, homeowners must use an electric water heater to ensure their homes are connected to the electricity grid. This can be more difficult for older homes built before the emergence of electrical appliances.
Electric water heaters can be powered by renewable sources like wind and solar, making them a more environmentally friendly option. At the same time, gas water heaters use non-renewable fossil fuels and emit greenhouse gases. Regardless of your chosen water heater, both types should be flushed regularly to prevent sediment buildup.