Is a Tankless Water Heater the Best Water Heater for Your Home?

Every homeowner deserves to have reliable hot water flowing through the pipes. It is important for bathing, cleaning, and for other domestic uses. That’s why you must find the best water heater type for your home.

According to the State government, water heaters account for about 11% of energy use in the home.

Depending on the water heater type, it will make use of one of these power sources:

  • electricity
  • natural gas
  • oil
  • solar
  • propane
  • geothermal heat pumps

The most common power sources are electricity and gas. Both provide various advantages and disadvantages. Thus, you need to decide which power source is convenient for you.

Aside from that, there are different types of water heaters.

Of late, people are recommending a switch to the tankless versions. But are these really worth it? Read on to find out.

Choosing the Best Water Heater Type for your Home

For some people, the best water heater type is the one they grew up knowing about. Despite all the great improvements in the industry, people believe in the saying, “Old is gold.”

There are now many heaters in the market. They include:

Storage Tank Water Heaters

Also known as conventional water heaters, these are the most popular types found in many homes. The tank’s capacity determines the gallons of water it can hold and heat up.

This type of heater can use either one of four power sources: electricity, oil, natural gas, or propane gas. It also has a vent system to remove hot gases.

Storage tank water heaters have three benefits. One, you have access to a lot of hot water when you need it. Second, it has low maintenance costs. Third, it has heavy insulation, which reduces heat loss.

However, it has disadvantages. It wastes energy by constantly heating gallons of water that you won’t use. The venting system expends a lot of energy. Lastly, it is very expensive to install.

Solar Water Heaters

People also refer to solar water heaters as solar domestic hot water systems. They involve the use of solar panels and hot water storage tanks.

In a direct circulation system, the solar collectors heat up water and the tanks store this hot water. The system is indirect when a heat transfer liquid heats water in the storage tank. This liquid must first pass through a heat exchanger.

Examples of this liquid include water, glycol-water mixtures, and hydrocarbon oils.

The advantages of solar water heaters are:

  • they are good for the environment
  • their source of energy – the sun – is free
  • their life term saves costs of installation
  • they operate in various climates

The disadvantages include:

  • high cost of installation
  • dependence on the availability of the sun
  • sometimes they need extra power sources to push the heat transfer liquid through the heat exchangers.
  • local zoning laws may affect installation
  • there is a need for a backup water heating system.
  • maintenance of solar panels to ensure they are collecting enough energy.

Heat Pump Water Heaters

This water heater type works by pumping heat into a water storage tank. It uses electricity to get heat from the air or the ground. Then it sends it through a heat exchanger and into the tanks.

Heat pump water heaters are energy efficient and they have low operational costs. Their drawbacks include high purchase and installation costs, inability to function efficiently in cold rooms, and you’ll need a backup heating system in the cold seasons.

Indirect Water Heater Systems

These types of systems involve a boiler or furnace, which connects to a water tank. The system uses a heat exchanger to heat the water in the tank.

Indirect water heating system is cheap to maintain. It saves energy by shutting off the furnace when not in use. It also has a long lifespan and lifetime warranty. Wear and tear is not as prevalent as in other systems.

Some disadvantages include the need for a bigger boiler and extra pipes to handle the capacity demands for hot water. This can add to the expensive cost of installation.

Other drawbacks are that lifetime warranties are limited to original homeowners. Plus, the boiler must keep firing up to maintain the heat energy at a certain temperature.

Point-Of-Use (POU) Water Heaters

As the name suggests, a POU water heater is installed at an outlet in your home. You plug it into a wall socket and it heats up water as you use the outlet. POUs are only for small amounts of water use.

Its benefits include saving energy by heating water as it comes out. It also saves on the amount of water you are using. It is also convenient for use.

The negatives include being disconnected from the main water storage tank. Thus, it only provides limited amounts of hot water. It can’t meet extra demands for hot water.

Tankless Water Heaters

Many people are wondering why the tankless water heaters are growing in popularity. The simple answer is because this water heater type has many benefits.

Another name for these heaters is On demand or Instantaneous Water Heater. It helps describe how it works. It uses a gas or electric power source to heat water as needed.

Some of the benefits are:

  • it heats water on demand
  • saves energy by not heating all the water in a storage tank
  • lowers cost of monthly bills by using less energy
  • electric versions get federal tax rebates
  • does not take up as much space as a boiler
  • its slim design allows for easy installation in tight spaces or outdoors.
  • last longer than standard water heaters
  • has lower operational costs
  • unit parts are easy to replace
  • no need or charge to maintain any heat in storage tanks when no one wants hot water.

There are two drawbacks. One, the cost of installation may go up if you have to replace your electric system. Second, the water can get too hot. That means you need a cold-water mixing valve to prevent injury.

Learn More about Water Heaters

As you can see, all these water heaters have advantages and disadvantages. Each one is susceptible to common heater problems.

What’s clear, though, is that the tankless water heater has more benefits than drawbacks. That makes it ideal for use.

Contact us and learn more about water heaters and our repair services.