Water heaters are a convenience that we often take for granted. It has not been that many years ago that homes which had cold running water were considered fortunate. Let one of those water heaters stop working and we quickly learn to appreciate their convenience. It is no fun taking a cold shower after a hard days of work, unless of course you are a Navy Seal. I will be going over two of the more common types of water heaters that are used these days.
Storage Tank Water Heaters
The most common water heaters are storage tank water heaters. They have a tank that is insulated. Water in that tank is heated and kept warm until it is needed. Storage tanks may use electricity, natural gas or propane to heat the water. The propane and natural gas models of storage tank heaters are usually less expensive to use than the electric models.
In choosing a storage tank water heater, you should consider your family size. While a thirty to forty gallon water heater is fine for a family of two, a family of five or more will need a fifty to eighty gallon water heater. If you choose too small of a storage tank, you will constantly be running out of hot water, especially at shower time.
The size of the space where your current water heater is located will determine the size of tank you will be able to replace it with. If you must have a larger size tank, you may need to move the water heater to another location and add plumbing to accommodate the new tank.
Another alternative, especially if you have a need for hot water in a remote location, is to buy a second much smaller tank that services only that area with hot water. Water is not wasted in getting hot water to a remote location and the primary tank can be smaller.
Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters only heat water when it is needed. Water passes through a series of coils that are located within the unit. These units have two advantages, they never run out of hot water, and since they only heat water when it is needed, they use less energy. The disadvantage is that they only provide a limited volume of water at any one time. Thus, you may not be able to take a shower when the washing machine is filling, although there are types of tankless water heaters that work more efficiently than others, you will have to look around to see the specifications for how big your home is and how ofter you are going to be planning to use hot water. In addition, these tanks are more expensive initially.
Water heaters manufactured today are much more efficient than those of a few years ago are. This is due to the use of more effective insulation materials that surround the tank, along with more efficient parts such as the heating elements along with more functionable thermostats and such which keeps the water that has been heated hot for a longer time.