Whether you own a tank water heater or tankless units, water heaters can dramatically impact your home’s comfort & costs.
While we often take a hot shower for granted, it’s important to note that up to 20% of a household’s annual energy expenditure comes from heating water. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, this makes it the second-largest utility expense in the home, averaging around $400 – $600 per year. If you are looking forward to installing a new hot water heater or replacing your existing one, the size, type, and efficiency of the unit you choose will have a big impact on its performance and your long-term savings.
There are several different types of water heaters to consider from heat pump water heaters to solar-powered units, but the most common are the tank and tankless ones. Traditional tank-style water heaters have large metal cylinders that keep hot water stored for when it may be needed. Since they can range in capacity from 40 to 60 gallons and generally are around 60″ tall by 24″ wide, they are often installed in a basement or laundry room.
To enjoy hot water in your home, you’ll need a fuel source to heat it first. Not all of us can have the same options available, depending on where we live, so there are sources that you can rule out right away. But first, let’s examine the possibilities of various fuel types.
- Electricity – Electricity has a lot going for it as it’s readily available and works with conventional tank-type designs, and on-demand tankless heaters, and heat pump systems, among other options.
- Natural gas & propane – These fuel sources also work with a variety of heater types and especially gas water heaters. One terrific advantage of this fuel source is availability during a prolonged power outage. Even if your home goes dark, you can still enjoy a hot shower. Of course, if you use propane, it’s necessary to make sure that you keep your tank filled.
When deciding on water heaters, consider your fuel costs. Depending on your area, you may be able to save money by making a smart fuel choice. And if you’re building a new home, an investment in a geothermal system makes a lot of sense.
However, fuel costs aren’t the only thing you need to consider. And, you should know that different types of heaters have different degrees of efficiency. That’s why it is a big part of the cost-saving equation.
Storage Water Heaters
When you say ‘water heater,’ this is what most people think of, and what most people have. Storage water heaters consist of a large water tank that stores hot water for later use. The water is heated and kept warm by either an electric heating element or burners fueled by natural gas or propane. Although, here are some issues related to these water heaters:
- Efficiency –If you’re among those who like to keep a large amount of water hot, storage water heaters are not very efficient. So, to mitigate this inefficiency, try to go for units that have high insulation values and offer ways to time the heating process for when you need hot water. Keep in mind that both energy costs and energy sources are essential for you.
- Cost– Storage water heaters are mostly the cheapest option in water heating. The technology is simple, and there are many manufacturers. The life span is limited, so you should plan to replace the unit every 10 years.
- Installation – Installation of a storage water heater is not that hard. But you should contact a professional like us instead of DIY because sometimes there are risks involved.
Tankless or On-Demand Water Heaters
As the name suggests, the tankless heaters provide hot water on demand by heating water as it travels through the unit by utilizing electricity or a gas burner. And since you’re only heating the water you need, significant savings in energy usage are possible. But, there are some issues to consider here as well:
- Demand– If you have a large household with substantial hot water needs, most probably, a tankless system isn’t the one for you. However, installing multiple units in parallel can fix that problem.
- Lifespan– Tankless heaters boast extended lifespans when compared to storage heaters, 20 years versus a lifespan of 10-12 years. And even if they malfunction, it’s usually merely an issue of replacing a part to get it working again.
- Cost– You’ll have to pay more upfront for a tankless water heater. But given their longer lifespan, you’ll probably recover your investment.
Further, you might know that water heaters are one of the most used electrical appliances in a household during extreme weather conditions. And with several brands in the market with different types of water heaters, sometimes it gets hard to pick a water heater. So let’s see, apart from heating water, what other aspects you should look for in a water heater before buying it.
The size and type of water heater depend on the amount of hot water required in your household. For example- for a family of 2-3 people, an instant water heater is enough, whereas, for more than three people, storage water heaters will be required. Also, always consider buying a water heater according to your needs as it’ll keep electricity and water wastage in check.
There are various types of water heaters, such as storage tanks, instant, gas, etc. So, it’s essential to have clarity about the kind of water heater you want according to your requirements.
It’s imperative to look for an energy-efficient water heater while buying. So before doing so, just look for the *star rating label on the water heater. The most “energy-efficient” heater will be five stars. Also, comparisons suggest that the traditional electric water heaters and the modern tankless water heaters are much more energy-efficient.
Features are equally essential while buying water heaters. One must look for features such as automatic thermal cut-out, a safety valve for pressure release, adjustable thermostat settings, glass coated heating element, and, most importantly, a rustproof outer body, among other features. If your water heater has these features, it will perform better and with ensured longevity.
The warranty shouldn’t be overlooked when buying a water heater. Our advice is that you should not choose a water heater with only the longest warranty period, but look for a warranty on the heating element and tank too while deciding.
Better safe than sorry, right? Though water heaters are safe to use, there’s no harm in looking for protection when you’re out there buying one. Remember to check for the safety valve, which opens to release pressure if the temperature gets too high. It is highly important as it saves the water heater from blowing up and causing harm.
Now that you know ‘how to choose the right water heater,’ after choosing one, call Lone Star Water Services to come and install it for you.