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The Pros and Cons of Different Water Heater Types

If you need a new water heater, don’t choose the cheapest one or simply go with a brand name you recognize. Take a look at the entirety of the water heater market and you will find there are plenty of options. However, choosing the right water heater type is not easy. Your unique home, your family’s needs, your budget and other factors shape your water heater selection. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each type of water heater.

Tank Water Heaters

Tank water heaters, also referred to as conventional or traditional water heaters, are by far the most common system used in the United States. This system is comprised of a sizable insulated tank that holds between 30 gallons and 80 gallons of water. Tank water haters rely on electricity or gas for power. However, some tank water heaters powered by oil or liquid propane are also on the market. The tank variety warms up cold water to hit the selected temperature. The warmed water is then stored within the insulated tank up until the point at which it is used. The system starts back up to reheat water as it is used or if it falls below the selected temperature. This process repeats in an ongoing manner, 24 hours each day across the entirety of the week. The downside to tank water heaters is the fact that you will have to pay to keep water hot at all times, even if it is not used. Furthermore, tank water heaters should be drained twice per year to stop minerals and sediments from building up. Add in the fact that tank water heaters are comparably large, taking up more room than other options, and there is even more cause for concern. It is also worth noting it takes some tank water heaters a full hour to reheat. However, tank water heaters are fairly cost-effective across posterity so don’t let the prospect of paying to keep water within the tank hot stop you from choosing a tank water heater. Add in the fact that tank water heaters require comparably little maintenance and you have even more reason to use one.

Alternative Options to Consider: Solar and Heat Pumps

Solar water heating technology has made its way to the market. This approach circulates water from the tank by way of a solar collector, allowing the sun to heat it. However, if the water within the tank is not warmed to your selected temperature, a traditional water heater will be necessary to properly warm it. Heat pumps are also available, relying on electricity to transmit heat from one area to another. In fact, you can even add heat pumps to your current HVAC system if desired or simply opt for stand-alone heat pump water heating.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters are quickly gaining popularity in the United States and beyond. Also referred to as on-demand water heaters, this variety of system generates a steady amount of hot water on-demand. Your tankless water heater will provide you with unlimited hot water, proving quite convenient. Furthermore, tankless water heaters take up little room, freeing up your limited space for other purposes. Add in the fact that tankless hot water systems require minimal maintenance and you have even more reason to give them serious consideration. The icing on the cake is that you merely pay for the hot water you use. The downside to tankless water heaters is they are usually more expensive than the traditional variety. However, tankless water systems are sold with varying capacities, meaning there are different price levels. Choose the wrong capacity and you might end up with lukewarm water as opposed to hot water.

Solar-powered Water Heaters

The solar variety of water heaters relies on the sun’s energy to warm hot water. Though this means of warming water is quite efficient, it might not prove reliable for those who live in particularly cloudy areas. Solar panels are mounted on the roof so they won’t prove capable of warming your water unless they receive direct sunlight, meaning a covering of snow will prevent the system from functioning. However, if enough sun is available, this type of water heater is quite efficient. As long as you can afford the comparably high installation cost and receive a considerable amount of sunlight at your property, you should consider this alternative approach to heating water.

Point-of-Use Water Heaters

These comparably diminutive water heaters are added by the plumbing fixture they transmit water to. Point-of-use water heaters are available as either tank-based or tankless systems. However, this type of water heater is limited as it merely provides hot water to a single fixture such as a bathroom or a hot tub. Though inexpensive, this variety of water heater will prove inefficient if used with regularity.

Heat Pump Water Heaters

Also referred to as hybrid water heaters, the heat pump variety relies on heat within the ground or the air to warm water instead of relying on a direct source of power. Heat is collected from the air or ground and transmitted through the system to warm the water. This is an energy-efficient approach to warming water, using 60% less power than regular tank water heaters. The large tank combined with the sizable pump added to its top chews up more space than a regular system. Furthermore, such a water heater won’t function when added to a cold part of a home such as the basement.

Contact Excel Plumbing & Air Today

Our plumbing and air specialists are here to help you with your water heater needs. Whether you need a new water heater, repair or maintenance, we’ve got you covered. Do not attempt a DIY water heater repair, replacement or maintenance. Instead, lean on our experienced professionals to get the job done right on the first try. You can contact us by dialing 847-416-2736 or by filling out our online contact form. Reach out to us as soon as possible and we might even be able to schedule a same day appointment.