Hot Water Heaters 101 for Homes

Water Heater Types for US Homes

The type of water heater that you use in your home affects how the hot water is distributed across the house and how it consumes water and energy. Whether you are replacing an old water heater or installing a new one in a new place, it’s good to know the differences between several types of water heaters.

Storage Tank Water Heaters

You will find storage tank water heaters in most homes. They are the most common type of heater and they operate pretty simply. As the name suggests, water is stored in a tank where it will be heated and distributed once the hot water faucet or shower is turned on.

Gas water heaters usually consume less energy and the operating costs are lower than more modern types. However, they would have a higher cost initially to install.

Tankless On-Demand Water Heaters

With on-demand water heaters, instead of storing the hot water in a tank, the water is heated through the heating coils as it passes. It only heats the water as needed hence, the name.

These types of heaters are more energy-efficient but the water flow they provide can be limited. That means if several people in your household use the hot water at the same time, some of them may not get the hot water. This is best for families who don’t usually use the hot water simultaneously.

Heat Pump Hybrid Water Heaters

This type of water heater captures heat from the air and distributes it to the water in the tank. The advantage of a pump is that it uses 60% less energy than electric heaters. They would cost more initially but you would save on energy costs in the long run.

A disadvantage of pump water heaters is that they don’t do very well in very cold places. You would also need about 7 feet clearance from floor to ceiling.

Solar Water Heaters

Solar water heaters absorb the sun’s heat using a solar cell mounted on your roof. The heat is then transferred to a fluid in a system that runs to the tank. This is great for areas that are typically warm and sunny.

Condensing Water Heaters

Condensing heaters are best for places that need large amounts of hot water to be used simultaneously. They have a capacity of more than 55 gallons. They capture exhaust gases and blow them through a coil where the water will absorb the heat.