A Quick Rundown of the Different Types of Water Heaters 

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After a long tiring day, the most anticipated time is that relaxing hot shower. You sometimes forget what produces the hot water until you’re standing in a cold shower, and suddenly remember that you’ve never maintained your water heater. Maintenance of a water heater is very important if you want it to last for long. If yours didn’t survive the last winter, here’s a list of different types of water heaters to choose from.

Conventional 

These are the most common and the earliest type of water heaters. These heaters have a large insulated tank with a capacity of 30 to 80 gallons of water. The amount of water that can be used at once depends on the size of the heater’s tank. They continually fill up and heat the water to the pre-set temperature. They provide great insulation to the water stored in the tank. The great thing is that they are cost-effective and quite low maintenance. However, you are technically paying for the hot water you may not be using as well due to higher utility bills. They also have huge tanks that need a lot of space. 

Tankless 

Tankless or on-demand water heaters heat up the water instantaneously using super-heated coils. It saves space, is energy efficient and you get hot water instantly, which means you don’t have to wait a long time for the water to become hot before you use it. This is the reason the professionals at McGinley Services recommend it if you don’t have space and you want a lower monthly cost. You are only paying for the hot water you are using! However, tankless water heaters need a higher upfront cost, but the monthly utility cost is quite low. It may not be possible to use it for simultaneous tasks at home.

Solar 

These are powered by the sun. The solar panels are mounted on the roof that transfers the energy to the water tank, which heats up the water. These are eco-friendly, and cost you less in water and electricity bills, however, their installation cost is quite high. The government is pushing towards solar panels through incentivized solar projects, which may assist you in the high installation costs. Solar water heaters are not suitable for all weather conditions because they depend on the sun. Many people have an alternative source as a backup for a rainy day (pun intended). 

Heat Pump 

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Heat pumps or hybrid water heaters work without directly generating heat. These water heaters use the heat in the ground or the environment. The electricity is only used in moving the heat. This way, you save more than 60% in energy use, as compared to a conventional water heater. It is both cost-effective and energy-efficient. However, these also need a lot of space, and their life span is mediocre. If you live in an area with extremely low temperatures, then they may not work quite efficiently. This is because they essentially take the heat from the surroundings. With lower temperatures in the environment, they will not be able to heat up the water as compared to a normal climate. 

Condensing Water Heater

They work by capturing the hot exhaust gases and redirecting them to a heat exchanger. These are environment-friendly, energy-efficient, and provide hot water instantly. They have a big tank, usually around 55 gallons, which means you don’t run out of water that easily. 

If you plan to use natural gas as an energy source, condensing water heaters are the best choice. However, the initial cost is high, and you might find the configuration to be fussy. They also come with big tanks, which means it may not be suitable if you have a smaller space. 

Combined Space & Water Heating System

The combined space and water heating systems use optimized hydronic air handlers to transfer the heat, with the help of hydronic boilers. If your house does not have a lot of heating needs, these systems are ideal because they provide space efficiency and insulation with lowered leakage of air. When you are using the same system for space and water, you will save a lot of money and energy. You will find the combined heating systems in various sizes. Some of them come with hydronic boilers and some do not. 

These systems are usually quite durable. The design is usually compact with built-in parts. So, if something goes wrong, you can replace the parts separately. 

Point-of-Use

Point-of-use water heaters are usually installed close to the supply fixtures. These are small heaters that direct the water away from central heating. Point-of-use water heaters have a feature that lets you decrease the temperature setting. Many people get them as a backup for their primary water heaters dependent on electricity or gas. As they are small and the temperature is adjustable, some people use these for their hot tubs or guest bathrooms, or for any fixture that uses a lesser quantity of hot water.

Smart

Smart water heaters are either a thermostat or a tankless system that coordinates your primary heater. You can connect it to Wi-Fi, and set a lot of features to your liking. You can adjust the temperature, detect any leak to minimize water damage, and detect any bacteria and even kill them inside the water heater by cycling the temperatures. When you are able to control the temperature and power consumption, your monthly bill will reduce significantly. 

Many upgraded versions have sensors that inform you if anything seems off like a leak or uncontrolled power consumption through your phone. So, even if you are not home, you will know if everything is okay with the hot water system at home. 

Water heaters need to work efficiently, especially during the winter season. If you’re looking for a new water heater, you need to consider the space you have available for it, your family size, the initial cost it will take to set it up, maintenance it needs and the monthly cost it will bring. The list above considers all the factors and helps you in deciding what kind of water heater may be best for you. 

3 Comments

  1. It’s great to know that tankless water heaters can assist you in saving a lot of space in your living area. I can see how this will be a better choice for our condo unit since it’s not big enough to house a large tank of hot water. I’ll ask a plumber to help me install something like this for sure.

  2. Tank water heaters come in two variants which are gas and electric. Both gas and electric tank water heaters are insulated and can keep the inner water warm. Moreover, both have a thermostat to control the temperature. The main difference between a tank and tankless water heaters is the ease of use and energy efficiency. Tankless water heaters seemingly provide endless hot water supply as it does not store heated water. Rather, it heats water upon demand or when you need it.

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About the Author: Brian Novak