A water heater provides a constant stream of heated water to the various water fixtures throughout the building and is one of the central appliances of any home or residential building. Despite the relative simplicity of the general design, there are several different variants of water heaters available.
Each type of water heater, though it performs the same function, does so in a different manner. This lends each type of water heater a distinctive set of advantages over the others. Understanding the differences between the five main types of water heaters can help you choose the one that is the best fit for your house or project.
Storage Water Heaters
The most common type of water heater, storage water heaters have a large tank that they heat and then hold water in. They can be either electric-powered or gas-powered, with gas water heaters providing faster heating while electric models tend to be less expensive.
Storage water heaters do require regular cleaning and flushing to stay in good working order, and they come with the caveat of having a relatively long refill time and a limited supply of hot water.
Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters work to heat water as soon as you demand it, effectively giving you an unlimited amount of hot water to use. Further, since they only heat water when you need it, rather than constantly heating it in a large tank, they tend to be more energy efficient and thus cheaper to operate.
However, tankless water heaters tend to be more expensive than their storage counterparts. Further, since they can only heat water at a certain designated flow rate, tankless water heaters can struggle to provide hot water to multiple water fixtures at once, a major consideration for larger buildings.
Heat Pump Water Heaters
Heat pump water heaters work by transferring heat from the air outside of your home to the water inside the storage tank, rather than making use of a traditional heating element. This means extremely low energy bills, as little electricity is needed to operate such a system, saving you significant sums in the long run.
However, heat pump water heaters require a certain minimum temperature to exist outside of your home; this makes them only really ideal in hot climates, not in more moderate or cold locations.
Solar Water Heaters
Like their name would suggest, solar water heaters make use of solar panels on your property to heat water. The advantage of solar water heaters is that they are free to operate, providing you with hot water throughout the year. There are even systems designed for use in colder climates.
However, the natural drawback of solar water heaters is that they require the sun to be out to actually heat the water in the tank, which means that if you experience excessive amounts of cloud cover, you may be stuck with cold showers for a while.
Condensing Water Heaters
Condensing water heaters can only be installed in homes that have a natural gas heating unit. They have a hot water storage tank, but they make use of the exhaust gas from your central heating unit to power their heating elements, rather than having a direct gas line as with traditional water heaters. This can save you significant money in the long run, while still allowing you to enjoy the efficiency of gas water heating.
Of course, the major downside of these types of heaters is that they can only be installed in a certain subset of homes; if you have an electric heater, you're out of luck.
No matter which type of water heater you eventually decide best fits your needs, you can contact Crown Hardware & Plumbing Supply Inc. Their team of highly trained and experienced professionals will be more than happy to answer any questions that you may have in order to match you with the best possible unit.