Your water heater is considered an appliance and is one of the most functional appliances in your home.
It works all day, every day, to keep water warm for the entire house. Life without your water heater would be pretty cold.
Table of Contents
- Most Popular Types of Water Heaters
- 1. What is a Storage Tank Water Heater?
- 2. What is a Condensing Water Heater?
- 3. What is a Heat Pump Water Heater?
- 4. What is a Tankless Water Heater?
- 5. What is a Solar Water Heater Cell?
- How do Water Heaters Work?
- Difference Between Tank and Tankless Water Heater
Most Popular Types of Water Heaters
Whether you use electricity, oil, or gas to heat the water, some purchase options cost less but may cost more upfront. In contrast, others are cheaper to buy but cost more to operate.
So I will review some options in hopes that they will help you with your purchasing choices.
The 5 most popular types of water heaters you will see in a home include:
- Storage Tanks.
- Heat Pumps.
1. What is a Storage Tank Water Heater?
They consist of a protected tank in which water is heated and stored until needed and then runs from a pipe on top of the water heater to travel through the house.
Storage tank water heaters are the most accepted type of water heater, as their name suggests.
They are designed with a thermal reading and pressure relief valve that opens if the temperature or pressure exceeds a pre-set level.
Natural gas storage tank water heaters typically use less energy and cost less than half as much to operate as electric water heaters.
Still, gas models cost more at the time of purchase.
2. What is a Condensing Water Heater?
This model has tankless like a traditional tankless water heater but captures the exhaust gases that would usually come out of the energy-wasting chimney.
These gases are blown through a coil where the incoming cold water can absorb most of the heat.
Condensation water heaters are another option if you heat your water with gas.
Still, you also need more than 55 gallons of capacity for the unit, so that’s another option for you.
3. What is a Heat Pump Water Heater?
Heat pumps capture heat from the air and transfers it to water.
They use about 60% less energy than standard electric water heaters. Although they cost more than electric-only models, the installation is similar.
The payback time is short, and because the heat pump is at the top, a heat pump water heater needs up to 7 feet of floor-to-ceiling clearance.
They also need about 1,000 cubic feet of uncooled space to capture enough heat from the air and a nearby drain to discharge the condensate.
Heat pumps are known to be somewhat defective in cold spaces. So it is recommended that a heat pump be placed somewhere between 40 and 90 degrees to ensure that it works perfectly.
4. What is a Tankless Water Heater?
Instead of storing water, tankless water heaters use heating coils to heat the water when been used.
They are more energy-efficient than a storage tank but provide only a limited flow of hot water per minute, usually around three and a half gallons.
When a hot water tap is turned on anywhere in the house, internal sensors identify the flow and light the gas that heats the water for the second or two passes through the unit. Once the hot water tap is off, the flame also stops.
It is best for people who are generally not drawing water from more than one user at a time, such as using a shower and a washing machine simultaneously.
How Often Should You Flush a Tankless Water Heater?
If you have one or two people in your house, you can wait three years to flush the system.
Suppose you have a water softener in your system. In that case, you can wait up to five years before flushing the heater and pumping a solution like the one that flows through the burner system to remove all calcium deposits from the hard water.
What to Consider When Buying a Tankless Water Heater?
Tankless models are best for homes that use gas for water heating.
And electric models may require you to purchase an electric upgrade for your home to increase the capacity of the electricity used.
Therefore, if you decide to purchase a tankless electric water heater, you will need to consider this before purchase.
5. What is a Solar Water Heater Cell?
The solar water heater cell absorbs the Sun’s heat and transfers it to an anti-freeze fluid in a closed-circuit system that goes to the water tank.
The best offers stellar savings in the summer, making them attractive for hot, sunny regions. Still, the savings suffer on cold, cloudy days.
Most models employ a backup system that is activated when needed.
What to Consider When Buying a Solar Water Heater?
One of the main factors to consider before buying a solar water heater is your home location.
Even with federal and local deductions, it could take 10 to 30 years to recover the solar system’s initial cost.
However, as I mentioned earlier, it could be worth getting one of these systems if your home is determined to be a perfect place for the Sun.
How do Water Heaters Work?
Your water heater is a hot water storage tank. When hot water is used, it is replaced by cold water.
A heating element heats the water, and it is stored and ready for the next time. This continuous flow of water and constant heating and reheating comes at a cost.
After years of use, Rust and sediment build up inside the tank; Rust and sediment typically corrode the water heater’s metal jacket.
However, the water has a built-in safety device called an anode rod, sometimes called a sacrificial anode rod.
It corrodes, protecting the metal jacket of your water heater.
But eventually, the anodic rod dissolves. Loss of the anode rod means that the inside of your water heater will begin to Rust, seriously reducing its life.
Signs to Know When Your Water Heater is Going Out
So, how do you know when your water heater is going to go, the water heater is going to give some apparent signs that include:
- The water heater is not heating enough hot water.
- No hot water at all.
- Water drips or seeps into the ground around the water heater.
- A crackling noise is heard when heating.
What Is The Average Life of a Water Heater?
The average life of a water heater is about 8 to 12 years.
How Often Should You Flush a Tank Water Heater?
Annual flashing is recommended for your tank water heater. It can help reduce the effects of sediment and rust build-up and prolong its life.
Difference Between Tank and Tankless Water Heater
Let’s examine the differences between traditional tank water heaters and tankless water heaters.
This does not favor either the tank heaters or the tankless water heaters.
First of all, a traditional tank water heater stores and heats 30 to 60 gallons of water.
Then, water is used every time someone takes a shower, washes the dishes, and then the water is reheated after it is refilled in the tank.
The traditional tank has layers of hot water at the top and incoming cold water at the bottom.
As hot water passes through from the top, hot water is continuously being drawn until the hot water is nearly exhausted.
On the other hand, Tankless heaters use a heat source such as electricity or gas to heat the needed water. You get hot water when you want it and don’t have to store it inside the tank.
There are coils all over the body, and under the coils, there is usually a gas pilot that heats the water on demand.
What Are The Pros of a Tank Water Heater?
As I mentioned earlier, the first and most apparent is that these are lower initial costs.
And only half of what a tankless water heater costs when installation prices are included.
Consumer Reports found that tankless models’ cost ranges from $800 to $150 plus about $1,200 for installation, compared to $300 to $480 for traditional tank water heaters with a $300 installation.
Another advantage of a traditional tank water heater is that they are easier to replace. Once installed, they require less maintenance.
As I mentioned earlier, tank water heaters will still provide hot water if the electricity goes out.
Since the tank is full of hot water, it will not cool down once the electricity goes out.
So you can use the hot water in your tank when you don’t have power, but the cold water won’t be replaced with hot water.
In general, they are better if you work on a limited budget or if you need to make a quick replacement.
What Are The Cons of a Tank Water Heater?
The most obvious and the one that has the most significant impact is that they can run out of hot water, which is different from tankless water heaters.
And anyone who showers after someone has used a ton of hot water knows that it’s a terrible experience with these storage tanks because there isn’t any hot water left.
Another disadvantage is that they are larger and more challenging to place in your home.
Once you place the tank water heater somewhere, they don’t look as good as tankless heaters, depending on where they are placed.
Traditional tank water heaters have a higher utility bill because they always heat and reheating the water to keep it at a pre-set temperature. Imagine 40 gallons of water at a constant temperature of 110 degrees.
This uses a lot of energy, especially noticeable in the winter because it is cold inside your garage or basement.
The cold seeps through the tank and only makes the water colder and works harder to keep it warm.
They also have a shorter life than tankless heaters, lasting about 10 or 15 years more often, which means more turnover and twice as many purchases as tankless water heaters.
What Are The Pros of a Tankless Water Heater?
The most obvious is that they deliver hot water on demand all the time.
It is predicted that tankless water heaters can deliver two to three gallons of hot water per minute, making them very good for families.
This means that if you don’t use hot water, the tankless water heater doesn’t work at all, so you save energy.
According to energy.gov, homes that use less than 41 gallons of water per day can be 24 to 34 percent more energy-efficient than traditional tank water heaters.
Another thing that’s good about these is that if you install them correctly, they can look great in your home.
Since they’re smaller, they can be installed in more places than traditional tanks, which is better for smaller unit homes.
Tankless water heaters can run for over 20 years, which is almost double the life of a traditional tank water heater, so you will save money by not installing more in the future.
As I mentioned earlier, they are more energy-efficient, burning less fuel. As fuel becomes more expensive in the future, you are going to notice more of your savings.
One of the significant advantages I want to point out is that when tankless heaters fail, they don’t leak.
Most tankless heaters have built-in sensors that let you know by an error code when they are leaking so you can fix the problem before it causes any real damage.
What Are The Cons of a Tankless Water Heater?
The first and most notable disadvantage of tankless water heaters is the higher initial cost.
They can cost between $2,500 and $4,500 when the installation price is included.
And also, keep in mind that when you upgrade your installation by replacing a traditional tank water heater, it will add to the cost because there are more complications.
Tankless electric water heaters that are large enough to serve an entire house require huge outlets, so sometimes this can require additional switches and wiring.
This can be expensive since it is necessary for all the current that is needed.
Advocates of tankless heaters say you will make your initial purchase again because of the energy savings.
As described by the Center for Energy and Environment, it could take twenty to forty years, depending on your use.
Another drawback is that many tankless heaters have a processor chip that runs the entire machine.
So in case, you lose power to your home, you’ll also lose your hot water.
Tankless heaters generally need an annual or biannual flush to clean the system, depending on the water’s hardness.
The more hardened the water gets, the more often you will have to flush it, so you will have to deal with it and is very important for the system.