Heating water can account for up to 20% of your average home energy bill. With new green initiatives for energy efficiency, most people are replacing their old water heaters with new, more energy efficient models. These new water heaters may be more expensive upfront but will save you money in the long run.
There are four different kinds of water heaters.
These are basically tall cylinders that are filled by a cold water pipe and water is heated in the tank, then distributed through a hot water pipe. These are typically fueled by gas and can run off a separate line or your already established natural gas line. Sometimes you will see these heated by oil or electric, but gas is the most economical way to heat this.
These are sometimes called “instantaneous water heaters” and are often no bigger than a suitcase. They heat only the amount of water that is needed by an electric coil or natural gas. They have a longer life expectancy and are more energy efficient, but have a limited flow rate which can be an issue with larger households.
Hybrid Electric Heaters
This is a conventional water heater paired with a heat pump, in which a heat pump is used to heat the water in your tank. These are 2-3 times more energy efficient than a typical storage-tank heater and cost less to operate. These systems are dependent on the geographical location of your home and the space in which they will be installed.
Solar Water Heaters
These are similar to an electric water heater but instead of using a heat pump to heat the water, solar energy is used. This system works the same as a heat pump by transferring heat and energy to a coil system with which to heat the water, it just uses solar energy versus ground energy. These systems are up to 50 percent more energy efficient than their counterparts but also require a back up system for use on cloudy or high demand days.
Picking a Water Heater
Water heaters are sold based on how many gallons they hold. But more importantly you want to look at the “first-hour rating” for storage-tank water heaters and “gallons-per-minute” rating for tankless. These numbers will give you a better idea of how much hot water you will get within a set amount of time.
The size and kind of water heater that will work best for your family can be a complicated decision to make. One of our certified Answer Heating & Cooling technicians can tell you what size and kind of water heater will best suit your needs.
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