Water heaters come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. Some water heaters are huge and offer tremendous capacity for homes or businesses that utilize a ton of hot water. Some water heaters are smaller and offer better energy-efficiency in exchange for using a different fuel source. So how do you know what type of water heater is right for you? The answer is an important one: choosing the right water heater can save you a ton of money on your utility costs, to the tune of savings that can soar as high as hundreds of dollars per year!
To help you make the best choice as to what type of water heater is the best for you, this blog will discuss the major differences between four different types of water heaters, as well as the pros and cons that you should consider when making your decision.
Electric Element Heaters
Electric element water heaters heat water using electric heating elements (usually two of them) that extend into the middle of your water heater tank. When current is run through these heating elements, they become incredibly hot, and the water in the tank then absorbs this heat, bringing it up to temperature. The water remains in the heating tank until it is used, meaning the same heating elements also help keep the water at your ideal temperature.
The pros of these types of systems are fairly obvious: using electricity to heat water is cleaner, safer, and in some cases cheaper. These types of water heaters can often be run indoors, and don’t require an exhaust system. However, the downsides are plentiful as well. For one, electricity is far less affordable than gas in some cases, and that means heavy hot water users could pay dearly on their utility bills.
Gas flame heaters use a supply of natural gas to heat your water using a flame burner located at the bottom of your tank. Gas has its advantages: in some cases it can be more affordable than electricity, and it’s by far the better option for those who either need a higher amount of hot water, or who want a heater that refills and reheats faster.
However, the gas flame comes with its downsides and disadvantages. Notably, gas-burning water heaters require ventilation and an exhaust system in order to safely allow the potentially toxic fumes from the burning process to escape. And we’re serious about the “toxic” part too: gas-powered water heaters produce carbon monoxide, a colorless and odorless gas that can be extremely dangerous. Nonetheless, with a properly-maintained exhaust system, these types of heaters are an affordable and safe way of supplying your home with a dependable source of hot water.
Heat Pump Water Heaters
Heat pump water heaters are a technology that is still very much in its infancy, but they’re quickly gaining in popularity for good reason: they offer the same heating pace and energy efficiency of a gas-powered water heater without the added risk of a burning flame. This is because heat pump water heaters are entirely electric, utilizing a heat pumps system to capture heat from the ambient space around the unit and use it to warm the water in your tank.
When it comes to energy efficiency, heat pump water heaters are pretty much unmatched. The heat pump process produces a tremendous amount of thermal energy with a small amount of electricity, and it does it with no harmful or toxic exhaust. The downside to these systems: they’re considerably more expensive than either of the two types of water heaters we’ve discussed, so your initial investment will be higher. Do they last any longer? Not particularly: because they utilize a tank, they are still prone to a number of the same problems with longevity that tank-style water heaters have to deal with.
Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters are the first huge change to water heating technology that we’ve seen in decades. Unlike any of the types of water heaters we have previously discussed in this blog, tankless water heaters don’t actually store and heat a tank of water. Instead, these heaters quickly heat the water you need when you need it, leading to their other name: “demand heaters.” When you demand the water, the tankless water heater will create it and send it to you.
Tankless water heaters do not suffer from a number of the same problems that tank-style heaters do, notably when it comes to longevity. Because there is no tank involved, tankless water heaters are far less prone to springing leaks, and virtually every part of a tankless system can be repaired. That means this may be the last new water heater you ever have to buy for as long as you own your home. But this does come at a cost… literally. Tankless water heaters have the highest investment cost of any of the types listed in this blog. However, because of their superior longevity, performance, and energy consumption numbers, a tankless system is still often the most financially-prudent investment purely because of how much money they will help you save in the long term.
Do you need a new water heater? Call Moe Plumbing at (818) 396-8002 today and we’ll help you pick the perfect new system for your home.