Per the U.S. Department of Energy, water heaters account for 14% – 18% of the average monthly utility bill, making it the second-largest expense for homeowners. No doubt then that it’s important to choose the right water heater for your home. Let’s review a few of the most popular water heater varieties.
Tank Water Heater
The tank water heater is the “old standby”, and still the most commonly-used water heater in the U.S. In tandem with a fuel source like natural gas, propane, or electricity, tank water heaters not only provide a large quantity of hot water, they do so at an affordable cost.
Usually located in a large open space such as a basement, attic, or garage, a standard tank water heater operates at a setting of 120 degrees and holds 20 – 80 gallons of hot water. A control mounted to the unit allows a homeowner to adjust the temperature up or down.
Tank water-heater size varies depending on the size of a home, number of occupants, and how water is used/distributed in the household. If you find that at some point you need to install a bigger tank water heater, keep in mind that replacing one tank water heater for another is the best way to minimize labor costs.
Tankless Water Heater
Tankless water heaters are enjoying rapidly-increasing popularity for two reasons: 1) they are “green” water-heating solutions offering better efficiency than a tank solution, and 2) with a tankless water heater a home will never run out of hot water, no matter how many baths and warm showers are indulged. Tankless water heaters are also prized for their small footprint and simple installation: they’re usually around the size of a medicine cabinet and easily mount to a wall.
Tankless solutions are much more high-tech than their “tank” counterparts. Digital controls allow the user to choose different water temperatures for different tasks – for example, one temperature for a child’s bath, one temperature for the dishwasher, etc.
With their relatively small size, tankless water heaters also have the advantage of being located close to the room(s) where the water is used. This is a big reason why these water heaters keep water perpetually hot, as opposed to a tank water heater that’s located in the basement – thus causing delays in hot water delivery.
Solar Water Heater
Solar water heaters take eco-friendliness even further than tankless solutions. Solar solutions utilize a dark-colored “solar collector” that captures the solar energy necessary to heat the water. Solar water heaters come in two types: “passive”, in which a non-mechanical process moves the water from the solar-collector area to the storage tank, where it’s distributed throughout the home; and “active”, where a circulating pump is used to move the water. There’s also “forced circulation”, a kind of active system that uses less energy than the typical active solution, but more energy than a passive approach.
Given a solar water heater’s reliance on the sun, there are times when auxiliary heating is necessary – i.e. on a cold day with heavy cloud cover. An auxiliary unit is a separate “booster” powered by electricity or gas.
Why Choose Comfort Air?
Trust Comfort Air in Vancouver to help you identify the ideal water heater for your home. Also, our local HVAC company has extensive experience with water heater installation, maintenance, and repair. Contact us today for a quote.