Choosing A Water Heater: The Basics

Aug
31
2011

No one ever thinks about a water heater and all it does for their home until the one they have stops working; then they will have to decide how to go about choosing a water heater, and for many this is a scary proposition. When you need a water heater you need to understand the different types, their pluses and minuses, and how all of that information applies to your needs.

There are four basic types of water heaters, the storage tank model, the tankless model, the hybrid, and the solar water tank model. Each one of these different water tanks provide hot water to your home, but looking at how they work and cost will be the best way for choosing a water tank.

First look at the water tank most people are most familiar with, the storage tank model. This water tank has a large storage tank that fills with cold water. Inside the tank are heating elements that keeps the water at a constant temperature, day and night.

While this type of water heater is what most people have seen the most, there are some major drawbacks to buying another of this type of tank. First there is a fixed amount of water that can be heated at a time; therefore you may, depending on your usage, run out of hot water from time to time. Next, while these are pretty reasonable to buy, they are very expensive to run. Also, with storage type units, there is no shut off on the heating element, so it takes a lot of energy to keep your water hot. Having said that, these are still the best option for consumers on a budget.

The second type of water heater is the newest and most cutting edge of them all. With the tankless water heater, there is no tank to store water. The water is heated when you need it, and only the water that is needed at that moment is heated, which results in saving a large percentage of your utility costs associated with water usage every month, so why doesn’t everyone have one? Well the upfront costs are not too quickly offset with the savings on your energy bill.

The hybrid is another type of water heater, these combine a tank with a heat pump which works with the hot air around the pump to heat your water. These units are really large and most homes do not have a place for them. Plus, they are not very economical which means that they really are not a very practical option for most homeowners.

Finally there is the solar tank, these are brilliantly designed systems which combines a storage tank and solar collectors to heat your water supply using the power collected from the sun. These systems are extremely expensive, and are not a viable option for most homeowners.

As you can see from this article, there are many options for your next water heater and some are going to be better than others depending on your particular needs. Discuss these options with your plumber and find the perfect balance of cost versus benefit for you and your family.

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