Water Heater Types - Selecting a hot water heater can be confusing especially if you are not aware of the types of water heating systems available to you. When you go out to buy a new car you want all the information you can get about the car you are buying from how economical it is to how reliable it is to the type of engine it has under the hood.
Water Heater Types | HVAC and Plumbing
Many people do not consider doing research and finding out what type of engine they use for heating. They simply replace what they have with a similar and go on with it without considering the long-term consequences of their decision. Fuel costs including electricity are rising every year and we need to take the time now to purchase the right system so that in the future when fuel prices rise we don’t feel it so much like our neighbors who make quick decisions without considering the future.
As you read this article it will help educate you on what is available and it will help you make the best decision now for the major appliance you purchase which will be with you for the next five to fifteen years (the range of life expectancy for a major appliance depending on quality and maintenance). Purchasing a water heater is a long-term choice and it’s important to educate yourself about the choices available.
Gas Water Heaters – Water Heater Types
Gas Water Heaters are very popular for major appliance purchases. They offer fast recovery times and can offer more economy over electric systems. They are a little more expensive to purchase but can pay for themselves over the long term.
Things to look for in gas-fired water heaters are electronic ignition controls that ignite automatically without using a standing pilot light. The standing pilot light has a pilot light that remains lit 24 hours a day 7 days a week and consumes gas to stay lit while a gas-fired water heater with electronic ignition only lights a pilot light when it is necessary to fire the main burners.
After the thermostat satisfies everything shuts down including the pilot light. Another thing to look for is an automatic vent damper on the flue. This vent damper will open automatically on a call to heat and allow the combustion byproducts to vent and when the main burners shut off this automatic vent damper closes and traps heat in the tank area. This is the heat that would otherwise rise into the flue and be vented into the atmosphere.
Oil-Fired Water Heaters | Water Heater Types
Oil-fired water heaters also offer fast recovery times and more economical than electric systems if you simply talk about fuel costs. If you talk about maintenance the oil-fired system loses to the electric water heater because the oil-fired system needs maintenance at least semi-annually. There is no pilot light on oil-fired water heaters like its gas-fired cousin and it does light itself automatically whenever the thermostat calls for heat.
It also a wise thing to have automatic vent dampers in the flue of an oil-fired system just as it is wise to have in the gas-fired water heater. The automatic vent damper traps heat in the tank that would otherwise rise out through the flue. As mentioned previously, the oil-fired water heater needs regular maintenance. Any oil-fired system needs regular check-ups otherwise major problems could develop which will affect reliability and efficiency.
Electric Water Heaters | Water Heater Types
Electric Water Heaters are also very popular because they are cheap and easy to install. Electric heat is also 100% efficient but the cost per kWh of electricity is more than the cost of using a gas-fired or oil-fired water heater. If you made the same quantity of hot water with an oil-fired water heater or a gas-fired water heater and compared the cost of making the same amount of hot water with electric water the electric system would cost more to produce the same amount of hot water.
Sometimes one has no choice but to use electricity as oil or gas service is unavailable to the location. Electric water heaters are also slow to recover as compared with gas or oil-fired systems. However, maintenance of the electric water heater is easier as it requires very little maintenance.
Tankless Hot Water Heaters | Water Heater Types
Tankless Water Heaters are the new thing in heating water. As I mentioned on the main water heaters section page I was skeptical for several years but have now been convinced that tankless waters are worth the cost and offer a good way to heat your water. These systems even provide heating on demand for those with hot water heating systems. They are basically on-demand water heaters.
When you open a hot water spigot in your house a flow switch senses the flow of water and the on-demand tankless water heater fires and begins heating the water passing through its heat exchanger. Within seconds hot water comes out of the spigot.
Taking a shower is the same. Stay in the shower as long as you want to stay and the water will stay hot whether you are in the shower for five minutes or five hours. There is no tank to maintain or worry about leaking in the future. These systems are economical and last many more years than a regular water heater with a tank.
They require little maintenance and the best thing is they are on-demand which means the tankless system only uses fuel when you need the hot water. A regular water heater with a tank will fire whenever the thermostat in the tank calls for it to fire even if you are away from home or sleeping (unless you hook up a timer control).
This article is continued in part two Water Heater Types Page 2
Hot Water Heater Types