Looking for a new water heating system for your house? We’re here to help! In this article, we are going to go through the 5 main types of water heating methods so you can pick the right one for your home.
Conventional (or tank) Water Heater
A conventional water heater is probably the one you think of most when it comes to water heating for the home, and it’s also the most popular. It uses a tank (anywhere from 20 – 80 gallons) that stores water and is heated to a designated temperature. When the tank is emptied or goes below a certain level, cold water is pumped into it and then heated, making it ready for instant use. These tank water heaters are powered by either electricity, natural gas, fuel oil or propane.
These types of systems are not that expensive to buy and installation is quite affordable as well. The main drawback is what’s known as ‘standby’ energy loss. This refers to the ongoing energy used to keep the water heated as a certain temperature. So even if you are not using the system, the water is still being heated. Furthermore, once the tank is used up, you’ll have to wait a bit for the tank to fill up and reheat. Though a scenario like this is relatively rare if you buy the correct tank size for your home.
Tankless or Demand-type Water Heater
As the name suggests, a tankless water heater provides hot water on demand. And it doesn’t have a tank! There is no standby energy loss. When you decide to use hot water, cold water passes through the tankless system and gets heated to the desired temperature as it passes through. An electric element or gas burner does the heating. This makes them very efficient and more affordable to use than tank water heaters (amongst other benefits). It also ensures endless supplies of hot water. However, the initial cost of buying them is more expensive as well as installation. If you decide to get an electric unit, you also need to make sure your house has enough power to run it.
Solar Water Heater
This is the most energy-efficient water heating method today. A closed-loop system consisting of heat-conduction material is heated from the power generated from solar panels. This moves through a tank of water, thereby heating it. If you live in a generally sunny environment, a solar water heater system is a great choice. Even so, it’s always advisable to have an alternative method to heat water in the case where not enough energy is generated (as is the case on a cloudy day). Overtime, the cost of such a system will work in your favor, but the initial upfront cost is quite large. This can be somewhat offset by government initiatives that are in place to promote the use of solar panels.
Heat Pump Water Heater/ Hybrid Water Heater
It’s actually possible to generate heat from the air and ground and then move it with electricity to heat water. And that’s how heat pump water heaters work. They are very efficient and can use up to 60% less energy than conventional water heaters. The bad news is they don’t function well in colder environments which have less heat in the air or ground.
Condensing Water Heater
Condensing water heaters draw the energy they need from unused domestic gas fumes. If natural gas is the primary energy source in your home, using a condensing water heater to obtain hot water is a great option. Water is heated using the heated exhaust from the natural gas system and then stored in a tank (similar to a tank water system). As condensing water heaters make use of gas already burned elsewhere in the house to heat water, it is relatively more energy-efficient when compared with the other types of water heaters. It’s also quite powerful and can provide a near constant flow of hot water. Keep in mind that installation can be quite expensive if your house does not use gas already.
Do your Research
Before choosing your water heating solution, you always need to do your research first. Consider several factors – energy efficiency, capacity and the type of fuel needed. You also need to figure out the water needs of your home. For example, the number of utilities that will use the hot water at any one time.
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