When it comes to deciding on a hot water heater, there is not any”one size fits all” system. Each different water heating system has benefits and disadvantages. The choice of which system to use is dependent upon many things, such as just how much hot water that you need, the first cost of this system and the cost to operate it, and accessible energy sources in the house.
There are two types of standalone water heating systems: storage and tankless. Storage water heaters, also known as tank or traditional water heaters, heat water and wait in a predetermined temperature. Tankless water heaters heat water on demand. Hybrid, heat pump and solar water heaters are combination systems. Hybrid water heaters combine tank and tankless systems, using both approaches to their best advantage. Heat pump water heaters and gas water heating systems use passive heat sources to heat water, then store the heated water in a tank; the tank also serves as a backup water heater should need outstrips the passive heat source.
Normal storage water heaters are tall cylindrical tanks. The dimensions of the tank depends on the gallon capacity, but most houses will accommodate standard sizes. Tankless systems are substantially smaller; lots of fit under the sink or on the walls. Hybrid water heaters will also be smaller than typical storage water heaters, and their storage tank is usually less than 10 gallons. Heat pump water heating systems are either added to the present tank system, necessitating extra space, or built as combination units. Solar water heaters take a large, flat space, such as a roof, in addition to the storage tank water heater.
Storage water heaters are the cheapest of the available water heating systems, but also the least energy efficient. Other water heating systems cost more initially, but may pay for themselves over the future with electricity savings. Along with the initial price, you will need to factor in installation and upkeep expenses. Many systems, such as storage water heaters, are easy to install, while those such as solar systems need professional installers. The charge to keep water heaters varies between systems and between models.
Your available fuel source is an important factor in deciding on a water heater. While natural gas is usually less costly than electricity, it may be costly to retrofit a house to use natural gas. Tankless systems are accessible as either point-of-use units or septic systems; you might decide to use a storage tank program for a lot of the house, while installing tankless point-of-use units for showers. Another factor when selecting a hot water heater is your system’s warranty. An inexpensive unit that must be replaced every five years may cost more in the future than a more expensive system with a 20-year warranty.