If you are a homeowner, it is likely that there will come a point when you need to purchase a new water heater for your home. When choosing a water heater, there are many factors to consider. The type of water heater you choose may impact your home’s comfort and the costs you incur due to heating your water. Therefore, here are some things you might want to consider before making a decision.
Types of Water Heaters:
Storage Tank: These are the most common types of water heaters. Water is heated in the storage tank by electricity, natural gas, propane or oil. Hot water is drawn from the tank when the faucet is turned on and cold water is drawn in to replace it.
Tankless: Here, water is instantly heated as it flows through the tank by electricity or gas. There is no need for a tank.
Solar: Water circulates through the tank through a solar collector that is heated by the sun. If the water is not hot enough, a conventional water heater is used to make the water a comfortable temperature.
Heat Pump: A heat pump relies on electricity to move the heat around. They can be used with your water heating alone or in combination with the heating and cooling system in your house.
Choosing the Best System for Your Home:
There are many factors which can help you decide which type of water heaters are best for your home. Of course, the cost and installation of your system is a factor, but you must also consider that some heaters may be more cost effective in the long run.
Here is a break down of what you can expect from the heaters listed above:
Storage Hot Water Heaters:
- Inexpensive and come in a variety of sizes.
- Waste about 10-15% of energy due to radiant heat loss.
- Can run out of energy due to extended use.
- Have a life expectancy of 10-15 years.
- The tank size is increasing to meet NAECA standards but may not be right for all homes.
- Have an average energy efficiency rating of .67.
- Installation costs run from $200-400.
Tankless Water Heaters:
- Take up little space and can be mounted indoors or outdoors.
- Meets NAECA standards.
- Has little energy costs.
- Uses less energy than storage models.
- Can be expensive to install ($600-1000 for a whole house system).
- Has a life expectancy of 20 years or more.
- Has an EF rating of .75.
Solar Water Heaters:
- These have little to no energy costs.
- Can result in savings that pay for the unit in 8-12 years.
- Collector must be in full sun throughout the year.
- Requires a conventional water heater for back up.
- Has a life expectancy of 20 or more years.
- Expensive to install ($2000 for a DIY kit, $5000-7000 for professional installation).
Heat Pump Systems:
- Low operating costs.
- Can only be used in locations that stay between 40 and 90 degrees.
- Can work on heating and cooling systems or be standalone for water heating.
- Can be 2-3 times more efficient than electric water heaters.
- Higher initial cost than storage water heaters.
- If heat pump is used in colder climates it can add to heating and cooling loads.
- Installation runs from $1400-2000.
So which system is right for you? This may depend on several factors including your living conditions and whether you want lower up front costs or to save money in the long run. Whatever choice you make, think carefully, as it can be an important choice for your family’s comfort and budget.