A Homeowner’s Guide to the Different Types of Hot Water Heaters

Juliet D'cruz

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Most households in the US can’t do without a steady supply of hot water for showering, washing dishes, and other needs. While we can’t understate the importance of hot water in our homes, not many people have a smattering of how a hot water system works and the different types of water heaters.

Understandably, water heaters are one of the most underrated systems in our homes. Plus, not everyone can be an electrical or mechatronic engineer. However, if you’re in the market for a water heater, it might be a good idea to get acquainted with the different types of water heaters available in the market.

Join us today as we look into the various types of water heaters available today.

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Conventional Water Heater

We’ll kick start our list with the most common type of water heater, the convention storage water heater. It consists of an insulated water tank that stores hot water. This water tank can hold between thirty to eighty gallons.

The conventional water heater has plenty of fuel sources, including natural gas, propane, electricity, and oil. The tank holds a temperature gauge that reads the water’s temperature, ensuring it doesn’t fall below a certain temperature. If it does, the power unit turns on to bring back the temperature to the required level.

This process is continual and goes on 24 hours a day, every day of the week. That means your heater will still heat water even if you’re away on vacation or a business trip. However, the bright side is you’ll have hot water on demand anytime you need it.

The size of the water heater tank determines how much hot water you’ll get from the system. Small families can do with small tanks, while large families are better off with larger water heater systems.

What Are the Pros of Conventional Water Heater Systems?

Conventional water heaters have tons of advantages over other systems. Some of the pros of a conventional water heater include:

More affordable: Conventional water heaters are among the most affordable water heater options hence their popularity. You’re likely to pay less for a conventional water heater system than the other types of water heaters.

Work across all climates: Regardless of whether you live in the Sahara or the North Pole, a conventional water heater works like a charm. Other types of heaters may require specific conditions to work, but not conventional water heater systems.

Lower installation costs: Conventional water heaters are the most affordable in terms of installation costs. However, it’s worth noting that the installation costs depend on whether you’ll need electrical, gas, or plumbing installations.

What Are the Cons of Conventional Water Heaters?

Although conventional water heaters seem pretty good, they’re not without their downsides. The cons of conventional water heaters include:

Wastes a lot of energy: The most obvious disadvantage of conventional water heaters is that they lead to a lot of energy wastage. Remember, conventional water heaters have to run 24/7, even when you don’t need hot water. This can lead to a lot of wasted energy and hefty utility bills.

Predisposed to water damage: Conventional water heaters are prone to water damage. This is especially true if you skip routine maintenance and take improper care of it. These water heaters are likely to rust or corrode if you don’t take good care of them

Take up a lot of space: It’s no secret, conventional water heaters take up a lot of space. That’s because they have to store hot water in a reservoir for domestic use. This means they take up more space than other water heater systems.

Electric Heat Pump Water Heaters

Electric heat pump water heaters draw heat from the atmosphere, intensifies it, and transfers it to water in its storage tank. Because these heaters draw heat from the environment, they work best in hot climates. Electric heat pump water heaters are very efficient under the right conditions but not in colder regions.

What Are the Pros of Electric Heat Pump Water Heaters?

Apart from being super-efficient, electric heat pump water heaters boast many benefits. Some pros electric heat pump water heaters include:-

Very efficient: As mentioned above, electric heat pump water heaters are among the most efficient water heaters available today. They are efficient alternatives to water heaters that use propane, oil, or electricity. Provided you’re in the right environment; these water heaters can save you a bundle in energy costs, especially if they have a high energy rating.

Easy to maintain: Like any other water heater, electric heat pump water heaters require regular maintenance. However, these water heaters require far less maintenance than other heater types. These water heaters require regular maintenance only once a year and can sometimes go up to three years without a professional check.

Save you money: An electric heat pump water heater can help you save a lot of money. A household of four people can save around $330 a year or $3,400 over its lifetime by switching to an electric heat pump water heater. If you’re strapped for cash, you should consider switching to this type of heater.

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What Are the Cons of Electric Heat Pump Water Heaters?

While these heaters boast some serious advantages, they’re not without their drawbacks. Some cons of electric heat pump water heaters include:-

Require a lot of space: Like conventional water heaters, electric heat pump water heaters require a lot of space. They require a minimum of 1000 cubic feet to work safely and efficiently. The hybrid variants can only work in areas with temperatures between 40 degrees to 90 degrees limiting their availability to specific regions.

Have a short life span: Don’t count on your electric heat pump water heater to last you a lifetime. These heaters are known for their mediocre lifespan of around ten years. That’s pretty short, considering solar heaters can last up to 20 years.

May not meet high demand: Electric heat pump water heaters may not meet high water demand. This makes them unsuitable for large families or institutions like schools or hotels. When the water supply doesn’t meet demand, you’ll have to wait for the system to reach the required demand.

Tankless Water Heater

Tankless water heaters use super-heated coils to heat water instantaneously and provide hot water on demand. That’s why in some spheres, it’s also known as the on-demand water heater. As you can tell from the name, a tankless water heater has no tank because there’s no need for one; you get hot water when you want it.

This water heater is excellent for all types of homes, provided you get a heater that matches your demand. A small water heater may not meet the huge water demands of a large household and will likely result in lukewarm water. As such, make sure you get a tankless heater that can match your household’s demand.

The smaller models are great for homes with natural gas as their heater’s main power source. For larger models, you might need an actual gas line to meet the water demand. Very large heaters will need electricity as their power source and may need you to upgrade your home’s electricity capacity.

What Are the Pros of Tankless Water Heaters?

Tankless water heaters are a preferred choice for homeowners countrywide. A few pros of tankless water heaters include:

Super efficient: Tankless water heaters are approximately 24%-34% more efficient than regular water heaters for households using around 41 gallons of water or less. This can help save you hundreds of dollars every year in energy costs.

Saves a lot of space: The greatest advantage of tankless water heaters is that they save space because they’re tankless. This makes them easy to install and also makes them less visually obtrusive. However, you’ll need to get the best water heaters for seamless installation.

Lower monthly costs: As mentioned above, tankless water heaters are very efficient, and you can save hundreds of dollars every month. This makes them a much better alternative to other types of heaters.

What Are the Cons of Tankless Heaters?

There are a few downsides to tankless water heater systems, and they include:

Expensive initial costs: Tankless water heater systems are pretty costly and will likely cost you well over a thousand dollars. So you best be prepared to dig deep if you want to snag yourself a quality tankless heater.

Limited water availability: Unless you buy a large tankless water heater, you’ll have to deal with limited water availability. Tankless water heaters can only heat a given volume and you’ll need the larger, more expensive variants to meet large volume demands.

Different Types of Water Heaters Made Simple

The information above should tell you all you need to know about the different types of water heaters on the market today. Hopefully, you can now make a more informed decision on the type of water heater you want for your home. However, ensure you buy your heater from a reputable vendor for the best results.

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