Water heaters tend to be one of the most neglected home appliances until it’s too late and its replacement is one of the inevitable issues all homeowners face. Deciding which one to purchase can be tricky as there are many different model and features. There are only two types of water heaters though, and we’d like to offer a few pieces of information to help you choose the right type of water heater for your family and for your home.
Types of Water Heaters
There are two main types of water heaters. The first type is heaters that warm the water to your desired temperature and then store that water in a tank until it is ready for use. You are probably familiar with this type of water heater. It is the most common due to its relatively lower cost.
The second type of heater is tankless and heats the water on demand or only when you turn the hot water tap on.
Storage Water Heaters
A storage water heater is typically round and generally located in a hallway closet or the garage of your house. These heaters can use a number of fuels to create the warmth to keep your water at the desired temperature. Examples of water heater fuels are propane, natural gas, and electricity.
How storage water heaters work
Storage water heaters work by collecting water in a holding tank and then heating that water to a predetermined temperature. When the temperature is reached, the heater shuts off. If the water needs to be reheated, the heater will activate to return the water to the correct temperature.
Pros and cons of storage water heaters
These water heaters tend to have a less expensive upfront cost. They can also be easily installed as most homes are equipped with this type of water heater.
The rate of flow from these heaters does not change, even if you’re running multiple appliances or fixtures at the same time. However, when the hot water that is stored in the tank runs out, so does the supply of hot water.
When determining the type of water heater replacement to install, keep in mind that storage heaters have a shorter lifespan than tankless heaters. This is because the constant heating and reheating eventually takes its toll on the heater and its components, and can lead to major home repairs.
Also, the cost of storage water heaters has recently increased due to new government regulations the require water heaters to be more energy efficient.
Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters heat your water as it flows through the appliance. These heaters are also known as on-demand water heaters because they heat water as it is needed, rather than storing it for future use.
How tankless water heaters work
Tankless water heaters begin heating water only when you turn on your hot water tap. As the water passes through flow sensors, copper heat exchangers heat the water using either gas or electricity. Because there is no storage tank that can be depleted, tankless water heaters will heat your water as long as you leave the tap flowing.
Pros and cons of tankless water heaters
Tankless water heaters will have a higher upfront cost plus the added cost of installation. Based on the flow rate your home needs, the cost of a tankless water heater can be twice as much as a storage water heater. A larger family that will be running multiple fixtures or appliances at once will naturally need a larger heater.
When considering the type of water heater replacement that suits your family, know that although tankless water heaters deliver an unlimited supply of hot water, there is a limit to how much hot water can be delivered to multiple fixtures simultaneously. Smaller tankless heaters may only be able to heat enough water for one fixture or appliance at a time. They also take longer to deliver hot water because it must pass through the copper heat exchanger first.
Despite their initial cost, tankless water heaters can last longer than storage water heaters. Storage tanks have a shorter warranty and usually last an average of 8 to 10 years. Tankless water heaters typically come with warranties of 10 to 15 years, meaning the warranty may last the lifetime of the heater.
An added benefit is that, due to their smaller size, tankless water heaters can be installed at each point of use, ensuring an endless supply of hot water for your family and your appliances.
If you have further questions or need more details on the type of water heater replacement you should choose, please contact Capital Care Plumbing. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.