Loading. Please wait.

loading

Different Types of Hot Water Heaters

Hot water heaters
Heating water accounts for up to 20 percent of the average home's energy budget. There are some gas-fired tankless water heaters that claim that they can cut energy cost by up to 50% over the regular storage heaters. But their added up-front costs mean it pays to look before you decide to jump into something you might not like. Compare the types of water heaters.

Storage-tank hot water heaters
Most of the storage-tank water heaters are basically steel cylinders that have a cold water inlet pipe, which brings the cold water in. The water then gets heated inside the tank and is then carried out through the hot water pipe. Another pipe that protrudes out of the tank has the temperature and pressure relied valve, which opens in case either of them exceed the preset level. On top of that, you will also find a drain valve that is located near the bottom of the tank, and a control unit which is located on the tank to control the temperature of the water. In gas models, there is an option for controlling the pilot light.
Gas is the fuel of choice if you already have natural-gas service or can run a gas line to your home economically. Gas models cost more than electrics. But on the basis of national-average fuel costs, a gas water heater will cost you about half as much to run as a comparable electric model. Thus, a gas heater might amortize the up-front difference in cost in as little as a year. While you'll also find oil-fired storage heaters, they're relatively expensive, because they include the tank and an oil burner. That's why homes with oil heat typically use an electric water heater.

Tankless heaters
Instant hot water heaters, also known as tankless water heaters are usually the size of a suitcase. They heat water on demand, whenever needed, using an electric coil or natural gas. The water passes through the heat exchanger inside and gets heated using the heating apparatus. Hence, as a result, they eliminate the risk of tank failure and also cut down on energy lost which would happen due to reheating of the water, as done in storage-tank hot water heaters. What's more, they're expensive to buy and install, and include limitations on hot-water flow rates, a possible issue in large households. And cooler incoming water in winter typically means your hot water may not be as hot as you like.

Hybrid electric heaters
These water heaters are a combination of the electric storage-tank water heaters and a heat pump. The heat pump extracts the air from the surrounding and aids in the heating of the water. As a result, most of the hybrid electric water heater used about 60% less energy when compared to normal storage-tank electric hot water heaters. Although they cost more than electric-only water heaters, they are fairly similar to install and also pay back on a short time.
But hybrids also have their downsides. Because the heat pump is usually on top, they need as much as 7 feet clearance from floor to ceiling. You'll also need up to 1,000 cubic feet of uncooled space to capture enough heat from the air, along with a condensate pump (about $150) if there's no drain nearby. Hybrid heaters are noisier than conventional storage-tank heaters, exhaust cool air, and can rob some heated air in winter.

Solar water heaters

All solar heaters supplement an electric heater in basically the same way: A roof-mounted collector absorbs the sun's heat and transfers it to an antifreeze-like fluid in a closed-loop system that runs to the water tank. The collector is typically a flat panel or an array of glass cylinders called evacuated tubes. The best delivered stellar savings in summer, making them an attractive option for warm, sunny areas. One of the most important aspects about solar hot water heaters is that they have a considerably high amount of purchase price compared to other water heaters. It is fairly expensive to have a solar water heater installed, but it does pay off in the long run. By utilizing sun's energy, the operating cost for solar hot water heater reduces by up to 90 percent. Solar water heating systems require a conventional water heater as a backup water heating source to ensure hot water is available when solar energy is not.