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If you’re in the market for a new water heater, you’re in luck. Modern water heaters are more energy-efficient than they have ever been. Whether you choose a tankless water heater or a hot water tank depends on where you plan to use the unit, how much hot water you’ll need and how much money you want to spend on your hot water system. About 30 percent of a normal American household’s energy is used to heat water, so choosing the right water heater is an important decision. The two main types of water heaters are conventional hot water tanks and tankless on-demand models.
Energy-efficient water heaters with tanks
There are several types of hot water tanks available. The most common of those are electric and gas. They keep a ready supply of water heated for immediate use. Each type has its strengths.
• Gas water heaters with tanks
The most efficient water heating systems are gas powered. Boilers can do double-duty by also providing hot water for baseboard heaters. In 2007, Consumer Reports stated that gas heaters can recoup their installation costs within one year. A well-insulated gas heater will hold its heat longer than heaters with no insulation.
• Electric water heaters with tanks
Electric tank models boast a higher energy factor (EF) than their gas-powered counterparts. The EF rating stands for the amount of energy directly converted to hot water. The benefits of electric water heaters are low maintenance, low cost and less noise. Solar tanks are also available. They’re great for areas with lots of sunshine and lower water use.
Traditional tank water heaters are usually housed in a cellar or garage. They can also be squeezed into a small space like a closet. They are available in various capacities from 20 to 80 gallons depending on the user’s needs. They’re economical and provide enough water for multiple simultaneous uses, such as washing dishes in the kitchen and bathing in the second floor bathroom.
Tankless water heaters
Tankless hot water heaters have been very popular in Asia and Europe for the last 50 years. They heat water only when it is required. Cold water enters the system when you open the tap. An electric element or gas burner then heats the water for immediate use. This provides a steady source of hot water and sidesteps the standby heat losses of water heaters with tanks, which saves energy.
Tankless water heaters can be purchased in a few sizes that are meant to handle various needs. You can buy a tankless heater for a single point, such as one sink, or multiple points, such as a bathroom with a sink and bathtub. There are also larger models for entire homes. Consumer Reports stated that a family of three will use 22 percent less energy with a tankless water heater if they consume a large amount of water. Households that use less water consume up to 34 percent less energy. Simultaneous use requires a system meant for an entire house. Tankless heaters save space by hanging on the wall. They’re an excellent option for businesses or vacation homes that are only occupied part-time.
The type of water heater that is best for you depends on the size of your family and the cost of energy in your area. Either type will dependably provide an adequate supply of hot water.
To learn more about saving money on your water heater, call 412-308-5747.