Which Type of Water Heater is Best? Boston MA
Which Type of Water Heater is Best?
There are many different types of water heaters on the market, each which have their own strengths and weaknesses. Couple this with the presence of local and national rebates on energy savings and the decision to replace a water heater with a newer or different technology becomes a tad more difficult than just deciding on electric or gas. The newest "fad" (if we can call it that) is to install a tankless water heating system which provides on-demand hot water to either a whole house or a local tap or appliance. Analyzing the pros and cons of each technology will help you make the right decision.
Let's take a look at the different types of water heating systems. For the purpose of this article we'll stick with products intended to heat water in a residential home:
- Conventional Hot Water Heater (tank)
This is a large insulated tank of water which can heat typically 40-50 gallons (but anywhere from 30-80+) either via electrical heating elements or natural gas or propane. These tanks include a thermostat which controls the temperature of water in the tank, and electric models can be coupled with an external timer to further save costs.
Pros: Simple to replace, inexpensive compared to alternatives, good for warm or cold weather climates
Cons: Inefficient compared to tankless (especially electric), prone to periodic failure, limited hot water supply
- Tankless (Demand or Instantaneous) Water Heater
This type of water heater uses a heating element (heat exchanger) to heat the water instantly as it flows through the system. Unlike a tank-based system, the lack of standing water in a tank means that the heat isn't lost over time (standby loss) as the hot water sits waiting to be used. These systems are fairly new and claim to be more energy efficient since the water is only heated when needed (the system is "flow controlled" in that the heating only occurs when the hot water is activated and pulled through the system.) We don't recommend the electric type as much for retrofit as it involves running 60-80amps of service to the water heater location and is less efficient than gas models.
Pros: Efficient, rebates available, never runs out of hot water
Cons: Expensive, requires special installation
- Heat Pump Water Heater
This is a lesser known type of water heating system that draws heat fromthe surrounding air to heat water in a tank. Because of the unique way in whichit works, it is really only suitable for warmer climates and must be located ina larger space, like a utility room, garage or basement. They can be up to 3xmore efficient than an electric water heater, and they cool and dehumidify theair in the room, making them desirable for warmer climates. A typicalresidential heat pump water heater can heat 15 gallons of water per hour by 80degrees F, with a final storage temperature between 120 and 140 degrees F.
Pros: Efficient, cools ...
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