If you are buying a tankless water heater for your home, there are many things to consider. Whatever choice you make, it’s important that you think carefully before making a purchasing decision. 20% of a household’s annual energy expenses come from heating hot water so making a smart choice could end up saving you a considerable amount of money. Here are some things to think about if you are considering buying or replacing a water heater in your home.
Tank or Tankless:
A Tankless water heater is the kind that is most commonly found in homes. Tank-style water heaters are large metal cylinders that store hot water so it is on reserve as needed. Because they are so large, they are typically stored in a basement or laundry room.
A tankless water heater (also called an ‘on demand’ water heater) turns on only when hot water is needed. This makes the system more efficient, since it’s not storing a reserve of water, and more compact. They also last longer than tank-style water heaters which are typically good for 10-13 years. Tankless models last 20 years or more. However, they are more expensive than the tank-style models.
Direct Fired or Indirect Fired:
A unit can be direct fired or indirect fired, regardless of whether it is tankless or not. In a direct fired system, the tank is heated directly from the flame. Fuel is burned in a combustion chamber under the water storage tank, then hot flue gases heat the tank. Direct fired units are generally used in homes with warm air furnaces.
An indirect fired water heater will get its heat from a boiler or furnace. Once the water is heated, it is transferred through a heat exchanger located in the storage tank. Because the energy is stored in the chamber, the unit turns on and off less often, saving energy.
Fuel Source: The fuel source you are using can be an important deciding factor in what type of water heater you choose. There are many fuel sources to choose from. They are as follows:
Natural Gas: These produce hot water quickly and are available in many sizes and models but require a chimney or wall for venting purposes.
Liquid Propane: These also require a chimney or wall for venting and also require a storage tank and fuel delivery.
Oil: These models are the fastest at producing hot water but are limited in model options to choose from.
Electric: These are easy to install and do not require venting but can be less energy efficient than other models.
We can see there are many decisions to be made when purchasing a water heater. Deciding factors could include whether you want to spend more in upfront costs and save money in the long run, or save money upfront and possibly spend more down the line. You might also want to think about the setup of your house and the location where the water heater will be stored. No matter what model you decide on, it’s a good idea to do some research beforehand, to make sure you are buying the right product for your home.