Whether you’ve moved into a house that needs a hot water heater replacement, or the one you currently owned needs changed. There are different options and choices in this day and age to make a solid selection for your house. From storage tank water heaters to solar water heaters, we want to explore all of the options to help you make the best decision for your home.
The great thing about making this choice in 2017, is that due to more energy-efficient regulations, you’re now able to choose the most efficient water heater based non your budget. Heating your home’s water, amounts to nearly 20 percent of your home’s energy costs.
While we always recommend that you consult a water and heating specialist if you have further concerns. We wanted to put this guide together to provide information on each new type of water heater, as well as helpful tips and things to consider when you decide to purchase.
Table Of Contents For This Post
- 1 Types of Water Heaters
- 2 Things to Consider When Looking to Purchase a Water Heater
Types of Water Heaters
Storage Tank Water Heater (basic)
A storage tank water heater are the most common and traditional water heater for your home. These water heaters consist of an insulated tank, in which water is stored and heated until needed by someone in your home. These tanks often come with temperature pressure valves and vacation mode settings. Other storage tank water heaters have features like WiFi enabled settings, but they’re incredibly costly.
These storage tank water heaters come in both electric and natural gas. The natural gas water heaters typically use less energy and cost less to run when compared to electric models. The only difference here, is that gas models like all other appliances cost more to buy than electric. So when you’re making the decision – strive to find out how long it would take to make your return back in spending more for a gas model when compared to electric. If you don’t plan to stay in that home for the length of time, maybe buying electric is the smarter choice.
Tankless Water Heater (on-demand)
If you’re not interested in the storing water solution. The tankless water heater uses heating coils to heat the water as you need it. While they’re more energy-efficient than the basic storage tank water heaters, tankless water heaters don’t provide nearly amount the same flow of water. Roughly 3.5 gallons per minute.
These water heaters are best for people who aren’t using too many appliances that aren’t drawing hot water at the same time. If this is an option and you have a larger family, plan to be strategic in how hot water is going to be used in your house!
Tankless water heaters are best for homes that use natural gas as an energy source. The electric models could require expensive upgrades of the home’s electrical and may not be cost efficient in the end. We recommend consulting with an expert before making the decision on a tankless hot water heater.
Heat Pump Water Heater (Hybrid)
These hybrid heat pump and water heaters capture heat from the air and then transfer it to the water. These types of pumps are incredibly efficient and use about 60 percent less energy than your standard electric water heaters. While these cost more than electric water heaters, the installation is similar and it may require extra modifications to your home’s power grid. The major difference is that the payback time when compared to other electric models is much shorter. If you’re looking to be more green in your home, this could be a solution that works for you!
While these water heaters are more efficient, there are a few drawbacks when it comes to owning one in your home. These hybrid heat pump water heaters don’t work very well in cold spaces, and to work correctly and efficiently, should be placed in an area that stays anywhere from 40 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Another drawback is that these water heaters need a lot of clearance space from floor to ceiling, around seven feet! Finally, you’ll need around 1,000 cubic feet of un-cooled space to capture sufficient heat from the air, and a drain nearby to remove the condensate.
Condensing Water Heater
A condensing water heater could be an option if you heat your home with gas and need a tank that uses a capacity of 55 gallons or more. Condensing water heaters have a storage tank like your standard storage tank water heater, unlike the standard tanks the condensing units capture exhaust gases that normally go out the flue, which wastes energy. The gases are then blown through a coil at the base of the unit, where cold water will absorb most of the heat.
While the condensing water heater is more known for commercial uses in the united states, residential units have been very popular in Europe. With government legislation coming down, and a higher demand for energy-efficient products, condensing water heaters are becoming increasingly popular for residential homes in the United States.
Solar Water Heater
Solar water heating systems include storage tanks and solar panel collectors. There are two types of solar water heating systems. There’s “active,” which have circulating pumps and controls, and “passive,” which don’t have the pumps and controls.
Two Types of “Active” Solar Water Heaters
The first “active” solar water heating unit is often referred to as a directly circulation unit. These units have pumps that circulate household water through the collectors and back into your home. These type of water heaters work well in climates where it rarely freezes.
The other one is referred to as an indirect circulation system. These units have pumps that circulate a non-freezing, heat-transfer fluid throughout the collectors as well as a heat exchanger. This process heats the water that flows into the home. These units are more popular in climates that are more prone to freezing temperatures.
Two Types of “Passive” Solar Water Heaters
The “passive” solar water heating systems are typically less expensive than the active water heating systems. They’re usually not as efficient. The upside, is that passive systems could be more reliable and may last longer as a water heating unit. There are two basic water heating system types under the “passive” moniker.
The first, is the integral collector-storage passive water heating system. That’s a mouthful! These units work in areas where the climate rarely falls below freezing temperature. These types of units work well in households with significant hot-water needs in the daytime and evening.
The second, is called the thermosyphon water heating system. The collector on these units must be installed below the storage tank so that the warm water will rise into the water tank. These systems are considered reliable, but you must pay careful attention to the roof design on your home, as storage tanks put a heavy burden on them. These units are usually more expensive than the other passive water heating system.
Things to Consider When Looking to Purchase a Water Heater
While you’re considering which water heater solution to purchase there are a few things that should go into buying one. Below you’ll find a list of items that you should consider when purchasing a unit. Understanding your family’s needs can go a long way into being happy with your water heater. There’s nothing worse than having a cold show
Gallon capacity is something you want to be concerned about. You don’t want to end up buying one that doesn’t store enough hot water (if you’re not going with tankless). If the current option you have works for your, consider buying the same size tank or slightly higher. If that amount doesn’t work, consider buying higher or speaking with a consultant to help you determine what you may need.
Determine which way you’re going to have your water heater installed. Electric, natural gas or solar, there are options for anyone to make a decision. Each one comes with pros and cons, so choose wisely for your home!
Space of Area
Determine how much room you have to fit your water tank in. You don’t want to buy one that’s too big that doesn’t fit in your space that you’ve chosen. Make sure you speak with a consultant to help you decide further!
Like the technology craze, hot water heaters are coming out with more and more bells and whistles to try to entice you buy them. Remember, people have been living for a hundred years or so with a basic hot water tank. Don’t get swayed into buying one that has WiFi functionality if you don’t absolutely need it. Remember, anything additional likely increases the cost of the product by X amount.
Hot water heaters are expensive to replaced. Make sure the water heater you buy has a sufficient warranty that can cover anything that may break down the first few years of owning it. Most home warranty plans also cover hot water heaters, so either take the risk of failure, or get protected. The choice is yours!
So there you have it. Our “biggish” guide to hot water heaters and some tips that you should consider when purchasing. Let us know your feedback, or if you have any helpful points in the comments section below!