If you are new to the market of water heater, or if you want to get a new one – here are the common types of water heater that you need to know. We understand that it is easy to get lost in a pool of options, so here’s a detailed article that explains the five different types of water heaters.
In a glimpse, the five different water heater types are conventional, tankless, solar, heat pump, and condensing. Their differences mainly involve mechanisms that each kind of water heater uses. Therefore, it results in different approaches and techniques for providing hot water. Nonetheless, these water heaters have one common goal – to provide hot water and be useful during cold days or winter seasons.
Water heaters are not something that you need to buy every day, so the unfamiliarity is understandable. However, you need to know the water heater types and its buying guide for you to get the best bang for your bucket. If you’re looking to buy your home a new water heater, then you’ve found the right place.
What are the Common Types of Water Heater, and What Should You Get?
Some people are wise enough to purchase one or two water heaters in their entire life because they understand what they need to get. As mentioned, there are five common water heater types available, and each kind has its advantages and drawbacks. Here are the different water heater types to help you pick which one is right for you and your house.
Conventional Storage Tank Water Heater
This water heater type is the most common, and possibly the one you know more than any other. It features a tank holding water for heating, which means the tank’s capacity determines just how much hot water you have at once. It also has two valves, the temperature control valve, and the pressure control valve.
- How Does it Work? The temperature control valve activates when the water reaches higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit, to induce heat and low humidity. The pressure release valve enables when it exceeds around 150 psi to reduce the load. There’s an insulated tank so that that water remains warm until needed. It is the most popular type of home water heater, but it may have some restrictions on how much hot water you can carry. If your tank is too low, or one day you need too much hot water, you can run out and have to wait for the next container to heat up.
- How to Maintain it? Conventional Storage Tank Water Heater requires constant cleaning to increase its lifespan. To extract debris and mineral scale and help to reduce rust, you can disinfect your water heater tank up to twice a year. It is not essential because usually, the water heater can operate without washing, but it may not last as long. A modern storage-tank water heater has a standard lifetime of around twelve years.
- The Advantages and Disadvantages. This water heater model only carries that much water at one point. The amount is based on its size, ensuring you can provide a 40-gallon tank of hot water before it gets empty. However, once the hot water is gone, it may take a while to refill and reheat another 40 gallons of water — sometimes an hour or more.
Tankless Water Heater
The “tankless” water heater features modern technology that offers nearly endless hot water for your home. From the name itself, this type has no tank, but it does have super-heated coils that fill in a flash of water and heat water as you need it. This design makes it ideal for rapidly heating water, even for large families that need a massive amount of hot water simultaneously.
- How Does it Work? This type of water heater comes in different types, and you need to be sure you have the right model for your home. Otherwise, a smaller tankless water heater won’t be able to keep up with your water consumption, resulting in torrential or cold water. For households that use natural gas to operate their water heaters, these models work fine, although larger models need a more extended gas line and more gas to run correctly. Larger tankless water heaters running on electricity may require you to increase your home’s electricity capacity, which might be expensive.
- How to Maintain it? This model may not have a tank, but to eliminate mineral scale and stop corrosion, you should clean your tankless water heater at least once a year to ensure its efficiency. As the pieces are smaller and more difficult to access, cleaning may be more complicated. The service life of this water heater type is 8–10 years.
- The Advantages and Disadvantages. Tankless water heaters are incredibly energy-efficient as they just heat water on demand rather than maintaining a heated pool all day, even when it is not needed. If you get a setup that’s big enough for your home, you’ll always have ample hot water. The initial investment in getting a tankless water heater is considerably higher than other styles, and it may require more extensive gas lines or more electricity, which can be a costly upgrade.
Heat Pump Water Heater or Hybrid Water Heater
This hybrid water heater will help to save energy resources because it does not generate heat directly. This water heater style is unique in that it uses heat for heating water in the air and the ground. It means that this water heater uses electricity only to move heat from the land or air into the water.
- How Does it Work? Water heaters with heat pumps can use up to 60 percent less energy than traditional water heaters. It is because the pump is at the rim. This water heater may take quite a bit of room, often up to eight feet of vertical clearance.
- How to Maintain it? This water heater has a reservoir, and, like traditional water heaters for storage tanks, you have to clean it periodically (up to twice a year) to extend its service life.
- The Advantages and Disadvantages. This water heater is highly energy-efficient and can, therefore, be extremely cost-effective over the long term. It may however not work well in cold spaces such as basements or in climates where it is excessively cold throughout the year. It’s because this type of water heater depends on either drawing power from the earth or air around it. Besides, purchasing water heaters is one of the costliest kinds.
Solar Powered Water Heater
You can draw energy from the sun by a solar-powered water heater. If you already have or are considering adding solar panels, this is a great idea. This water heater style can be the most energy-efficient of all of them and relies on roof-mounted solar panels as its source of energy.
- How Does it Work? There’s energy passed through a closed-loop system that uses a heat-conductive substance and then heats the water in the tank. It can save lots of money on sunny days and mainly works well for those living in dry, sunny climates. The device, though, also needs a backup plan, such as natural gas or electricity, so that the water heater will continue running on cloudy days.
- How to Maintain it? This system has a tank, which should get regularly cleaned to remove scale and prevent corrosion. On the solar panels, you should also consider the need for maintenance.
- The Advantages and Disadvantages. These water heaters are super energy efficient and are therefore also very eco-friendly. You can save tons of money on electricity every month if you let the sun do the most power for your water heater. Such solar-powered water heaters are incredibly expensive, and seeing a return on your investment can sometimes take up to 40 years. Under poor weather conditions, where little to no sun is available, you may need an additional source of power for your water heater, which can be a challenge.
Condense Water Heater
This water heater utilizes leftover gas fumes from your house to heat the bath. If your family’s home uses predominantly natural gas as its source of energy, the condensing water heater may be the absolute best choice.
- How Does it Work? This form of water heater funnel heats exhaust from the natural gas network and uses it to heat the water in a tank identical to the traditional water heater design. The gas fumes funneling through a coil positioned to heat the water at the bottom of the tank. Therefore, there’s very little energy used to heat the water. It is a water heater type reservoir, so you’ll need to make sure to buy one that’s large enough for your family size.
- How to Maintain it? Like other types, a tank is for washing. This design may also include cleaning of its gas importation valves once a year.
- The Advantages and Disadvantages. It is typically the most energy-efficient option for families who use natural gas to heat their houses. Given that this type of water heater usually needs a more comprehensive reservoir, there often is plenty of water to go. This water heater design is not readily available in smaller models and works best with families that need more than 55 gallons of space. It will not be the best choice for homes not running on natural gas, either.
What to Consider When Choosing a Water Heater?
When it comes to water heaters, there are some things that you have to consider regardless of its type. These features or qualities will ensure that you are getting the best water heater for your money. So, next time you buy it, make sure to take down these factors to consider when purchasing a water heater.
- Water Heater Warranty. The warranties on water heaters can vary significantly in cost and length. It is because your water heater is such an integral part of the day-to-day life of your family that when choosing a new water heater, you should always pay close attention to the warranty terms. Guarantee periods are usually from 2–10 years, depending on the supplier.
- Plastic or Brass Drain Valves. The drain valve is positioned near the bottom of your water heater and is used until repairs to empty the water heater or to make it easier to raise during travel. Usually, this device is from either brass or plastic. Although neither substance is corrosive, plastic valves can be less sensitive. Brass is much more durable and malevolent than plastic so that it will take more damage. Brass is not affected by changes in temperature as plastic might be. It is not an immense choice, but it is still one that you need to make.
- Anti-Scale Devices. Your water heater and other water-consuming devices can get harmed by mineral content. Within their water heaters, several vendors have anti-scale systems. This tool pushes the water down the tank. The constant moving water is less susceptible to mineral build-up, which may improve the water heater’s lifespan. This function can work, but other variables can affect the water heater in addition to mineral build-up. You don’t need to buy a water heater with an anti-scale system, and you certainly don’t need one with extended warranties.
- Glass-Lined Tanks. Many water heaters may include a glass lining within them. In reality, this lining is porcelain enamel, and the coating helps protect the water heater (usually made of steel) from corrosion. The enamel coating can do wonders in increasing the water heater’s existence, but because of the coating process, steel areas are most often left bare. The ceramic enamel coating is becoming increasingly popular, and can even be a standard design today for some manufacturers. Sadly, this is not a required addition, but the corrosion cycle within your water heater tank may undoubtedly get slowed down.
- Digital Displays. Water heaters with digital displays are useful because your water heater settings can be conveniently changed to suit your personal needs. You can quickly improve the water heater performance, water temperature, and some models even have a scheduling function. It will enable you to enter the hours your house is occupied and improve the water heater’s energy efficiency by turning off when you’re gone. Without the digital display, water heaters sometimes give only simple measurements, such as ambient temperature and water strain. The digital display is undoubtedly a feature of modern water heaters that you want.
- Water Heater Capacity. Determining your water heater tank efficiency depends solely on how many times you need water in your household. Determining how big a tank you will need can be challenging as the water usage of each individual will vary greatly. First-hour rating (FHR) can get used to help determine the size of the water heater your family needs. To calculate the FHR for your family, count the number of people in your household and multiply by 12. It means a family of four has a 48-gallon FHR. You can check your water heater’s FHR to see if it’s going to heat enough water for your home. Here’s yet another strict thumb rule:
- If only one or two people are in your household, a 30-gallon tank should be enough.
- If you have two or three people in your household, a 40-gallon water heater tank may be required.
- If you have three or four individuals in your household, you can go for something more substantial, perhaps 40–50 gallons.
- You would need a tank containing 55 gallons, or more, for more than five men.
- You may need two water heaters for eight people or more to supply enough hot water to your home.
The importance of choosing the right water heater type will make a difference in its performance in your home. You have to make sure that you are getting the correct type of water heater that is suitable for your needs. On the other hand, if you plan to replace your old water heater, you’d be happy to know that you have plenty of choices. You just have to understand the pros and cons of each type.
In the event where you want to get your water heater checked by an expert before replacing, Quality Water Heater Service is always at your service. We guarantee you that we provide the best water heater repair, installation, and inspection services. Call us now at (408) 679-5820 for a FREE quote, or send us your inquiries by clicking here.