Do you know that a water heater is one of the most used household equipment? Hot water is not only required for taking hot showers but also for things like cooking, making some tea or coffee, and sometimes also for washing off stained dishes or clothes.
As water heaters meet all our hot water needs as a single piece of equipment it’s beneficial to install them in our homes. But as it’s multipurpose equipment we need to do a thorough research during buying a water heater or water heater replacement.
As customers, we must be well informed about the product we are about to buy. So in this article, we are going to acknowledge ourselves with water heaters by discussing points like working and types of water heaters and factors to consider before water heater installation.
Different types of water heater and their working
Whether you are using gas oil or electricity to heat your water there are several buying options for water heaters. Some will cost less to run but some may cost more upfront while others will be cheaper to buy but cost more to run. Let’s go through these options so that it helps your buying choices.
- Storage tanks. Storage tanks are the most common type of water heater. As the name suggests these consist of an insulated tank in which water is heated and stored until heated. Then it emerges from a pipe on top of the water heater to travel through the home. Natural gas water heaters consume less energy and cost less to run than electric water heaters. But you should know that gas models cost more at the time of purchase.
- Tankless water heater. Rather than storing water, tankless water heaters use heating coils to heat the water as you use it. They are more energy efficient than the storage tanks but provide only limited flow of hot water per minute. As soon as the hot water tap is turned on anywhere in the home, you get access to hot water. They’re best for the people who typically aren’t drawing water for more than one use at a time.
- Heat pump water heater. Heat pumps capture heat from the air and transfers it to the water. They use less energy than standard electric water heaters. While they cost more than electricity, installation is similar and payback time is short. Heat pumps are known to be sort of faulty in cold places. So it’s recommended to place a heat pump in somewhere that stays from 40 to 90 degrees to make sure it works perfectly.
- Solar water heaters. A roof mountain cell absorbs the sun’s heat and transfers it into an antifreeze-like fluid in a closed-loop system that runs to the water tank. These deliver stellar savings in the summer, making them attractive for sunny regions. But these savings suffer on cold and cloudy days. They have come up with a backup system where the solar energy is converted into some form that can be stored and used whenever necessary.
- Condensing water heater. If you are using gas as a source of energy and want large quantities of hot water then you can go with a condensing water heater. These models have a tank like a conventional water heater but capture exhaust gases that would normally go out of the flow which wastes energy. These gases are blown through a coil in the base of the unit where incoming cold water can absorb most of the heat.
5 factors to consider before water heater replacement
- Choosing the size of the water heater. You will have to think about the storage of the water heater and your need for hot water accordingly. The 40 gallon water heater is probably the most common one. For the typical family of four, 40 gallons of water is usually enough.
But when you’re taking a shower, 70% of the water is hot water. The average shower is for about 10 minutes and so if you’re all getting up at the same time in the morning, taking shower then a 40-gallon water heater might not provide you with enough hot water. Thus, apply a little bit of math and figure out the sizing which will be best for you.
- Sizing and standard of the burner. The standard unit for a 40-gallon heater is somewhere around 40,000 to 60,000 BTU’s. When you get to higher recovery those numbers are in 70s to 80s meaning that, it will heat that water faster and get you to the recovery point.
If you are someone that wants endless hot water then you may consider getting a tankless water heater. It doesn’t store any water but once you turn it on, it makes an ample amount of hot water.
- Cost of the water heater. If we compare the storage and tankless water heater, the tankless water heater costs more than the storage water heater. But on the same hand, a storage water heater draws more energy than a tankless water heater.
Talking about solar water heaters they do cost a lot at the time of installation but if your home is located in a region that usually gets an ample amount of sunlight then solar water heaters are best for you.
- Life expectancy of the unit. We discussed above that the cost of a tankless water heater is more than the storage water heater but the life expectancy of a storage water heater is less than a tankless water heater. The average life of a normal storage water heater is about 10 years, while the life expectancy of a tankless water heater is about 20 years.
- Energy consumption. Even if no one is home the storage water heater is filled with hot water that you paid to heat. But with a tankless water heater, it’s off. It’s not using any energy, it’s just waiting for you to come home and turn it on.
The heat pump water heaters also consume minimal energy as they capture the heat from the air. So from an environmental perspective, this is good to go.
Do consider these factors and make sure that you’re purchasing the right water heater for you and your family.