Chances are you don’t think about your water heater or how efficient it is, as long as you have access to hot water, there isn’t really much to think about. That is, until it stops working. If you find yourself in the position where your water heater has given up the ghost, you may be unsure of what to do next. Do you replace the system you already have, or do you opt for a totally new one? Don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed with the choices and the options, that’s perfectly natural. So, here is a guide to water heaters, so you can hopefully choose the right one for your home and your needs.
The water heaters are powered by various sources. The most popular heating methods are using electricity and gas. This means that there are gas and electric water heaters. Depending on your preference you will make a decision on this. Therefore no matter the type of water heater you choose, electric or gas hot water heaters, you should think of the installation.
Different Types Of Water Heaters
You’ll obviously be aware that there is at least once type of water heater, which will be the one that you’ve currently got in your house. But for residential use, there are four different types that are used in the home. The first and most common is the tank water heater, which does what is says on the tin. The water is heated in a tank and is then used throughout your home. More often than not, the water is heated overnight and then used the following day. Depending on your energy plan and how efficient your heater is, you may be able to heat it more than once a day. The second is a hybrid system, then a tankless system and finally point of use. Depending on your need will determine which water system is right for you.
Hybrid systems are a relatively new innovation, but they are becoming more common. Hybrid heaters are exceptionally efficient, which is why people are now moving towards them, as they can expect to save up to 60% on their electricity bill when they make the switch. The way the hybrid system works is that it does still have a tank, but it has a heat pump on the top of it. This pump draws in warm air from the surrounding environment and compresses it within the tank and then transfers the warm air to the cold incoming water. This heats up the water much faster than traditional tanks and reduces the overall energy needed from a traditional tank. Whilst hybrid systems are exceptional at heating water and reducing your bills, they are still very expensive and premium rate systems.
Traditional Tank Heaters
Traditional tank heaters are what they say on the tin. They are a tank system that uses either gas or electricity to heat the water. The cold water enters the bottom of the tank and then either a flame if you have a gas tank will heat the water, or electrical elements that are suspended within the tank. They are not as efficient as hybrid systems, but gas tanks are still relatively inexpensive to run in comparison to electronic tank systems, however, they are more expensive to purchase at the outset.
Tank Less Water Heaters
If you live in a small apartment, it may not be a viable option to have a large tank heater in your cupboard and this is where tankless water heaters come in. If you don’t have the space for a large instillation, then this maybe the option for you. They provide hot water for the entire house and can be put in a cupboard out of the way. Unlike tank-based systems, tankless systems don’t heat up water ready for use. When you turn on a tap in your home, the water is heated on an on-demand basis. When the single reaches the system that a tap has been turned on, cold water passes over a heating exchange that heats the water which then moves to the tap that has been turned on. Because there is no hot water stored, it can take a while for the water to get hot. They also aren’t as energy efficient as hybrid or tank-based systems, this is due to the water not being held in situ at a warm temperature, so every time water enters the system it has to be heated.
Point Of Use Systems
If you have an outside bathroom that is too far from the main water tank or you want hot water in your garage. A point of use system does what it says, and it simply heats the water at one location. They are very small and discrete unit that sits under the sink, so you won’t even notice it. They are energy efficient and heat a small volume of water very quickly, so you can be sure you can always access clean hot water, no matter how far from the heating tank you are. Point of use systems have an average lifespan of a tank system, even if they are smaller and more compact!
It is always advised to have a professional install any water tank system, especially when there is gas involved. Gas based systems require a specialist engineer to install them to make sure they are safe. This is because of the flame as well as the ventilation required. Before you settle on a system, check local providers to see if they can provide the system and the expertise needed to make sure that your system is safe and won’t put you or your family in danger.
When it comes to water heaters, the four most widely used in residential homes are tank, hybrid, tankless and point of use. Each of these systems works slightly differently from the last, but they all serve a purpose. Hybrid systems are new technology, but are very expensive at this point in time, however they vastly reduce energy bills over the course of their life span. Before you settle on a system, make sure you have considered how you are going to get it installed. It is worth having a professional advice and install your system, especially if you are opting for a gas system, as it will be need to be installed in a safe and compliant manner.