A water heater is a definite necessity in every home. Even though most people will not appreciate them much during warm weather, it is during the cold seasons when a water heater’s value is truly appreciated. If you are shopping for a water heater, it is important to realize that there are different methods of heating water.
Types of water heaters for the home
1. Storage water heaters
These are the most popular in U.S homes owing to their convenience and relatively straight forward maintenance requirements. This type of heater uses a standard tank where water is stored and heated. To reduce the loss of heat, the tanks are heavily insulated. When hot water is demanded, it flows out through an outlet pipe located on the top part of the tank and is replaced by cold water through a bottom inlet. Unfortunately, energy is lost because water in the reservoir is continuously being heated even if hot water is not demanded. Fuel sources for storage water heaters include electricity, natural gas, oil, and propane.
2. Tankless water heaters
These are also called on demand water heaters because they do not preheat the water. Instead, water is heated by coils as it flows out. Because water is not continuously heated like in storage water tanks, they are more energy efficient and cheaper to run. However, the amount of water that can be heated at a time is little; you definitely won’t be running a shower and cleaning dishes at the same time. The most appropriate fuel source for tankless water heater is natural gas.
3. Heat pump water heater
During the warm or hot hours of the day, air contains a lot of heat. Heat pump water heaters draw warm from the air and convert it into a hot gas which is then used to heat water. Although they are connected to electricity, heating is not directly done through electric power. As a result, an energy saving of up to 60 percent can be made. However, heat pumps work best in an area which has access to warm air the optimum temperatures being above 40 degrees.
4. Solar water heating
Solar heating is one of the cheapest domestic water heating mechanisms. It employs solar panels that are mounted strategically on the roof. The panels convert sunlight into heat energy which is transmitted to water directly or through an antifreeze liquid in a heat exchanger. Although you will not incur fuel costs with this type of heating, the installation costs are high. The efficiency of solar heaters is also limited especially during the cold season or cloudy days.
5. Condensing water heater
This system works just like the storage water heaters. However, the fuel used must be natural gas. When this gas burns, carbon dioxide gas is produced and in most cases, it just escapes into the atmosphere. However, with this type of heater, the hot exhaust gasses are captured and reused to heat the water through convection.