Water heaters are the second-largest energy consumers in the household. This is especially true during winter when it’s cold outside, and everyone at home seeks comfort from morning showers.
While your family enjoys the hot showers, your energy cost rises along with all other environmental impacts your water heater carries. The best way to reduce your water heating costs is to replace your old water heater with a new, higher-efficiency, and sustainable model.
But how are you going to choose what’s the best water heating system? There are plenty of brands and different types. Don’t worry; you are not doing this alone. Here’s a complete guide in buying hot water systems for your home.
Types of Water Heaters
It’s best to familiarize yourself with the basic types of water heaters available to determine the right model for your household, especially if you’re going to purchase one. Here are the different kinds of water heaters available on the market today:
- Conventional storage water heaters have an available storage tank where the water is stored and heated with the use of a burner at the bottom. It doesn’t need any motor power and fuel sources can be from electricity, fuel oil, natural gas, or propane.
In a conventional water heater, the water is continually heated. This means that energy is wasted even if you are not running the tap. You may want to opt for storage water heater models that have heavily insulated tanks to help reduce any standby heat losses and lower annual operating costs.
Keep in mind that when buying a conventional water heater, you’ll also need proper installation and maintenance to ensure energy efficiency.
Adequate routine maintenance will significantly make your water heater last longer and ensure that your household is safe from any danger. Neglecting this type of water heater is like having or a ticking time bomb at your home, waiting to explode.
- Tankless or demand-type water heaters warm the water directly without the use of a storage unit. Once the tap is on, the water is heated as it travels through a pipe. You’ll have a constant supply of hot water at a limited flow rate, usually around 2-5 gallons per minute.
A tankless water heater can be more expensive compared to a conventional type, but it has a higher life expectancy and lowers energy cost. There are two types of tankless water heater, gas-fired or electric.
Gas-fired tankless water heaters have higher standby energy loss, while electric tankless water heaters have a lower flow rate. To prevent high standby energy loss, consider getting a model with an intermittent ignition device than a standing pilot light.
- Heat pump water heaters move heat from the surrounding then dump it into a tank at a higher temperature by using electricity.
Some manufacturers produce triple-function geothermal heat pump systems that are more efficient for households annually. Triple-function systems can provide water heating, space heating, and cooling heat pump systems in your home.
- Solar water heaters have both storage tanks and solar collectors to provide hot water. You can choose from an active and passive water heating system. Dynamic has distributing pumps and controls, and passive doesn’t. Some models have backup systems if there’s not enough sunlight to power your water system. But, it’s still best to evaluate your solar source if you want to purchase one.
- Tankless coil and indirect water heater provide hot water as the water turns on by heating it through a heating coil or heat exchanger inducted in a central furnace or boiler. Indirect systems can be powered by oil, propane, gas, electricity, or solar energy, while tankless systems are typically oil, electric, or gas-fired.
If you want to check out different models, 1st Choice Hot Water Systems can provide you a wide variety of options at an excellent and affordable price. They also offer professional advice, installation services, and spare parts for any of your water heating system needs.
What to Consider When Buying a Water Heater?
Once you learn about the different types, you also need to consider four factors when selecting the best type and model of water heater for your home. These factors are fuel, size, cost, and of course, energy efficiency.
Fuel typeis an essential consideration when choosing a water system. The source of energy that you use for water heating will affect the water heater’s annual operational costs, size, and energy efficiency. The most common energy sources for water heaters are electricity, fuel oil, geothermal energy, natural gas, solar energy, and propane.
It’s desirable to choose electricity if you can check with your local utility company for off-peak electricity rates for water heating. However, natural gas, oil, and propane water heaters have lesser operating costs than electric models.
Certain fuel types may not be available in your area, so your choice may be limited. Consider knowing what’s available or use what you already have in your household to lessen your costs.
Size is also a factor because you should opt for a water system that can provide enough hot water throughout your household. It will also allow you to maximize efficiency.
You should also know how energy efficient a water heater before purchasing. You don’t want to get a heater that would cost you more in the long run. Try to select a water heater with the highest energy factor.
If you are in a mild climate, consider getting a heat pump water heater than a conventional water heater. Heat pumps are more energy-efficient in a moderate environment and can save up to 50% of your water heating bill.
It’s also best to ask and compare the annual operating costs with different models so you’ll have the right idea of how much it cost when using the water heater. Also, include a proper maintenance allowance.
Water heating systems can be technical and complicated, but the necessary information above is a sure guide that will help you determine which model or type is the best fit for your home and budget.