Types of Water Heaters
Having to replace a water heater ranks pretty low on the list of things people like to do. No one likes to think about their water heater. We just want it to do its job when we need hot water. Replacing an old or malfunctioning water heater is important however, and can even save you some money. As with most things, technological advances in plumbing have made choosing a hot water tank that’s right for you and your family more important than ever. There are a number of options on the market, and making sure to choose the right one for your situation can go a long way toward not having to worry about where your hot water is coming from for a long time.
Conventional Water Heaters
Conventional water heaters, also known as hot water storage tanks, are the most common type of water heater around. Water is fed into the insulated tank, heated, and stored until it’s needed. An hot water tank heated by natural gas can be less expensive than its electrical brethren, but is more difficult and expensive to install.
A conventional water heater requires semi-regular maintenance in order to function well over the course of time. Their life expectancy is usually between 10 and 12 years, depending on how much it is used, and how regularly maintenance has been performed.
Tankless Water Heaters
In a tankless water heater, water-filled coils are exposed to intense flashes of heat, producing hot water on demand. These systems are more energy efficient than conventional heaters, but are more expensive to purchase and install.
For larger families who use a lot of hot water, they can be sized to provide a constant stream of hot water. Tankless systems are generally better suited for use with natural gas. However, they may require that a larger gas line be installed, which can be expensive. The electrical type may require an upgrade on your electrical system, in order to increase capacity.
Similar maintenance to that of a conventional water heater is needed annually, in order to prevent the buildup of minerals in the system and keep the water flowing.
Heat Pump Water Heaters
Also known as hybrid electric water heaters, heat pump water heaters use heat from air or the ground, and use it to heat the water. While they cost more than a normal electric water heater to purchase and install, they use nearly 60% less energy. Homeowners who choose these heaters will see the savings in their utility bills.
These heaters don’t do well in cold areas, because of how and where they find heat. They may also need up to a seven-foot clearance, from the floor to the ceiling, where they’re installed, as they’re located on top of the appliance they’re heating water for.
Solar Water Heaters
These heaters use roof-mounted solar panels to heat water. The sun’s heat is absorbed and put into a fluid similar to antifreeze. From there, a closed-loop system runs to the water tank, thereby heating the water. During the summer, these systems offer a lot of savings for homeowners, especially in sunny regions. There are advantages and disadvantages to solar water heaters.
- Energy from the sun is free, and available.
- The panels are efficient.
- Lower gas bills.
- They’re environmentally sound.
- Tax and other financial incentives may exist for those who use a solar water heater system.
- The panels can only heat water.
- Annual maintenance and inspections must be done to ensure the system is running properly.
- Even with the incentives, it can take a homeowner anywhere from 10 to 30 years to realize savings from the system.
Condensing Water Heaters
This type of water heater has a conventional water heater tank, but heats the water using the hot exhaust gases usually removed through the flute. The gases are blown through a coil at the bottom of the heater, where the incoming water is heated. These heaters are efficient for homes that use natural gas for heat, and require at least a 55 gallon tank.
Water heater experts in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio
There are more factors to consider when picking out the best water heaters, but this is a great place to start. For recommendations and a free estimate to install or replace a water heater in your home, talk to the pros at Ohio Buckeye Plumbing. To schedule an appointment, call (440) 283-9377.