In the United States, the average household shells out over $1,000 a year on water costs alone. That’s already a lot, but it doesn’t even include the expense of heating all that H2O they use.
So, if you need to buy a new residential water heater yourself, it pays to know which ones are energy efficient. That way, you can invest in a system that will provide you with the hot water you need without using loads of energy.
To that end, we came up with this guide discussing the most common types of water heaters you can get today. Read on to discover how they work and their pros and cons so that you can make the right choice.
Conventional Storage Water Heaters
A conventional storage water heater uses a large tank to heat and store water. A heating element installed inside the container heats the water. As soon as the water reaches the preset temperature, it rises to the top of the tank, ready for use.
The heated water then flows out of an outlet when you turn on a hot water tap somewhere in the house. From there, you can expect hot water to flow out of that tap.
While all that’s happening, cold water flows into the storage tank through a dip tube. The cold water sinks to the bottom of the tank, replacing and displacing the hot water. That helps the heated water flow out of the tank and the hot water tap.
The heating element then does its job again of heating the fresh supply of cold water. Once heated, the water goes on “standby” mode, waiting for the next person to run a hot water tap.
As for fuel sources, conventional storage water heaters often use natural gas. However, you can also find systems that run on propane, fuel oil, or electricity.
Although conventional tank water heaters remain popular, they’re pretty energy-inefficient. That’s because they can waste energy in the form of standby heat loss. That heat loss occurs when the unused water they’ve heated turns cold.
Instantaneous Water Heaters
Instantaneous water heaters also go by the name on-demand water heaters. That’s an apt name, as they deliver instant hot water, and only by demand.
Since on-demand water heaters only heat water as needed, they don’t have standby heat loss. As such, they’re often more efficient than storage-type heaters.
In any case, instantaneous water heaters provide hot water using a heat exchanger. It’s a piece of device that transfers heat from one source to another. It can either be a burner or an electric heating coil.
Activating the heat exchanger only requires you to run a hot water tap. That component then transfers the heat to the cold water that flows into the system. From there, the heated water flows out of the hot water tap.
Instantaneous water heaters used to be tankless, meaning they didn’t store water. That resulted in older models having a limited hot water output.
However, according to https://www.qbicheating.co.uk/water-heaters, there are now storage on-demand heaters. They’re not as large as storage-tank type heaters, though. Still, they may be enough to supply hot water for your cooking and cleaning needs.
Solar Water Heaters
Solar water heaters are systems that harness the sun’s thermal energy to heat water. Their primary benefit is that their energy source, sunshine, is entirely free.
For that reason, solar domestic hot water systems can shrink water heating bills by 50% to as much as 80%. That makes them one of the best water heaters for eco-conscious and smart homeowners.
Solar hot water systems come in two types: active or passive. The former runs on circulating pumps and controls, while the latter doesn’t. However, both require tanks to heat and store water.
Moreover, solar water heaters consist of devices called collectors. These are responsible for absorbing the sun’s thermal energy. That heat then gets transferred to the water circulating within a home.
One of the main drawbacks to solar water heaters is that they usually cost more than other systems. Fortunately, though, they qualify for a federal tax credit. You can get a 26% tax credit if you install one this 2022 or 22% if you put it in place by 2023.
Heat Pump Water Heaters
Like on-demand hot water systems, heat pump water heaters also use heat exchangers. However, they don’t create heat on their own. They don’t transfer the heat directly to the water, either.
Instead, the heat pumps move the heat from the surrounding air into a water storage tank. As a result, the water that the tank contains heats up. From there, you only need to run a hot water tap to enjoy heated water.
Since heat pumps don’t generate heat on their own, they’re energy-efficient. Their efficiency rate is about 3.5 times greater than electric and up to 7 times than gas heaters.
However, that energy efficiency relies on ambient temperatures, too. After all, heat pumps only move around the heat from their surroundings. For that reason, they’re best for locations where the temperatures range from 40ºF to 90ºF.
That’s also why heat pump water heaters work well when installed in furnace rooms. They can use the heat coming out of the space heater to warm the water their tanks contain.
Go For Energy-Efficient Types of Water Heaters
There you have it, your guide on the types of water heaters and their benefits and drawbacks. Now, you know that electric, solar, and heat pump water heaters are energy-efficient.
So, if you have the budget, consider investing in one of those energy-efficient systems. That way, you can keep enjoying hot water without having to pay sky-high water heating bills.
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