Tips for choosing the right water heater
Monday, February 25, 2013
If all is working well, most homeowners put little thought into their water heater. But when this critical appliance fails, it can be a nightmare. With no hot water for washing dishes and clothes — let alone for bathing — homeowners are left scrambling to find a new water heater as fast as possible.
Today, more homeowners are taking the proactive approach by making updates before the life expectancy of their current heater ends. Newer units can have many benefits, including better efficiency and lower operating costs.
Because heating water is the second largest energy drain in a home, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, many people are choosing modern options that heat water much more efficiently, which helps save money and is better for the environment. Here are the three main types of water heaters and their many benefits.
Traditional tank models
Most homeowners have a traditional tank water heater. This option works by continuously heating water in a holding tank throughout the day, providing hot water to the home when there’s a demand. If you already have a maintenance closet or storage area where a tank heater is located, you may select a modern tank heater to replace the old one since the space is already set up for one. The good news is today’s tank heaters are more efficient than ever, providing more hot water while using less energy.
Although tankless water heaters have been used for more than 50 years in other countries, only in the past decade have they become more popular in the United States. A tankless heater uses energy to heat water only as it is needed, so energy is used efficiently and utility costs may decrease. Plus, tankless water heaters can provide a steady stream of hot water that doesn’t run out.
These types of water heaters are about the size of a medicine cabinet and are hung on a wall, perfect for homeowners with limited space. Depending on what climate you live in, you might be able to put a tankless water heater on the outside of your home. Most tankless water heaters are gas fueled.
Hybrid tank units
Hybrid water heaters offer homeowners an option that is more than twice as efficient as standard electric units. Consumers who switch to a hybrid electric water heater with heat pump technology can save $286 annually on their electric utility bills, compared to those who have a standard 50-gallon electric model (with a 0.90 energy factor), according to U.S. Department of Energy estimates.
How do hybrid water heaters work? These tanks are set up with a heat pump as well as electric technology. The units have three settings: heat pump only, electric only or hybrid mode which uses both. Depending on the demand put on the system, the homeowner can select the most energy efficient means to heat water.
Heating water is the second largest energy drain in a home.