Selecting a New Water Heater
Water heaters (as anything else, actually) have a restricted time of service. Usually in the warranty it states the estimated service duration of your water heater. But many homeowners ignore this fact and do not start thinking about the replacement unit until their water heater fails completely. Since they are not used to living without the water heater, there is usually little time to come up with a new one, so they opt for the first more or less decent model they come across. Such scenario will be unsuccessful in the long run, because the cost of buying and operating a water heater varies significantly, if you consider the type, brand, and model of the new water heater as well as the quality of the installation.
So it is best to do some research in advance, before you will have to deal with an emergency purchase. Get familiar with the options that have become available to consumers over the last decade. The information on different types and criteria for selection of your new water heater is described below. Take into consideration that you may have to spend more for a model that will eventually save you money.
Types of the Water Heaters
Before you decide to replace your current water heater or buy a new one, consider some of their types presented in the market today such as conventional storage, demand, heat pump, tankless, indirect, and solar. Read on to find out about the most common types below. Hopefully this will help you select the proper water heater for your home.
1. Storage Water Heaters Conventional storage water heaters use various fuel options – electricity, natural gas, oil and propane. They are still the most popular type for residential owners in the USA, ranging in size from 20 to 80 gallons (75.7 to 302.8 liters). A storage heater releases hot water from the top of the tank when you turn the hot water tap on. Cold water then enters the bottom of the tank to replace the used hot water, making sure that the tank is constantly full.
Energy is still wasted even when the tap is off, because the water needs to stay hot in the tank. This is called standby heat loss. There are more energy-efficient storage models available that can considerably reduce the amount of standby heat loss, as a result becoming less expensive to run.
2. Demand Water Heaters If you wish to eliminate standby heat losses from the tank and decrease energy consumption 20% to 30%, think about demand water heaters, which do not have storage tanks. Cold water runs through a pipe into the water heater unit, and a gas burner or an electric element heats the water when it is needed. However, there is one potential problem with demand water heaters which is a limited flow rate.
3. Heat Pump Water Heaters Instead of producing heat directly, heat pump water heaters apply electricity to move heat from one place to another. They work like refrigerators but in reverse. Heat pump water heaters can be purchased as whole units with built-in water storage tanks or can be added to an existing water heater tank. These systems have a high initial cost, requiring installation in warm places throughout a year and contain enough air space around them.
4. Tankless Coil and Indirect Water Heaters When it comes to the tankless coil water heater, no separate storage tank is needed, because water is heated directly inside the boiler in a hydronic heating system. The water starts running through a heat exchanger in the boiler as soon as you turn the hot water tap on. Such a system is most efficient during colder months, because of the heating system’s constant use. An indirect water heater requires a separate storage tank. Like the tankless coil, the indirect water heater moves water through a heat exchanger in the boiler. The heated water is then transferred to an insulated storage tank. This system is more effective than the tankless coil one, because the boiler doesn’t have to work continually. It is also worth mentioning that the combination of an indirect water heater with a highly efficient boiler can provide one of the least expensive methods of water heating.
There are a lot of factors to consider when selecting a new water heater. Think about the advantages and disadvantages of different water heaters in light of your specific needs. This article has already described some water heater types. Some other factors to consider are capacity, efficiency, and cost. To find out more about that, contact our water heater consultant at Downey Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning, a reputable plumbing & HVAC company with over 80 years’ experience in the industry.