Together with HVAC systems, water heaters enhance the existential comfort of the household by providing the much needed warmth and heat. As such, water heaters are some of the most important plumbing installations in any home. Luckily, technological evolution has led to the creation of numerous types and models of water heaters; enough to suit everyone’s hot water needs and preferences. Water heaters are categorized according to their construction design, such as conventional storage, tankless and heat pump water heaters, and sometimes according to their energy sources like solar, gas or electricity powered water heaters. To make a prudent purchase decision, it is advisable that you consult a professional plumber like any company that offers DC water heater repair and installation services, for advice. Some of the most popular water heaters are discussed below.
Arguably, conventional storage water heaters are the most popular models in the market today. Ranked as the most affordable models in the market today, these water heaters feature a hot water reservoir or tank. Although they are easy to install and very affordable to purchase, conventional storage water heaters have one downside, they are very inefficient. Storage water heaters are undermined by their standby heat loss problem, which translates into significant energy wastage. This is because they always have hot water stored in a reservoir even when the hot water tap is shut-off. This inefficiency causes these models to have very high operating and maintenance costs, potentially offsetting the low initial purchase cost. To mitigate this problem, some modern models have insulated storage tanks and pipes and motorized dampers.
Tankless, also called demand-type or instantaneous water heaters do not have a reservoir for storing hot water. As the other names suggest, they heat water directly on demand. Because they do not store hot water like conventional storage models, tankless water heaters are not affected by the standby heat loss problem. Therefore, they are some of the most efficient types of water heaters in the market today; and hence require very little operating costs. Also, tankless heaters never run out of hot water although they require a little lag time to get the burners going before they can heat the water to the required temperature. One major setback of using this model is that it requires very high initial purchase and installation costs. The good news is that the initial price is easily offset by the subsequent energy cost savings.
Heat pump water heaters use electricity to move heat from one space to another instead of generating heat directly to produce hot water. These models work like reverse refrigerators in that they take heat from the surrounding space and use it to heat water in a storage tank. They are suitable for warm climate regions and they can be 2-3 times more energy efficient than conventional storage electric resistance water heaters. You can either get a stand-alone air-source water heating system or use a combination water heating and AC system.
Solar water heating systems use the sun’s energy to heat water. Solar water heaters feature solar collectors and hot water reservoirs. They come in two types: passive and active heaters, which include circulating controls and pumps. Considering that they are powered by a free and renewable resource, sunlight, solar heaters are ranked among the most efficient models — they can also be used in any climate. Solar water heaters require substantial initial costs, which can be offset by the relatively low operating costs.