Choosing A Water Heater – Issues & Options
When choosing a new water heater, you are faced with several different options and choices. You must first decide on what size of tank you will need to fit your needs. Then you must choose between gas-powered, electric powered or solar-powered. Then you must choose between a tankless water heater and the regular storage-tank type. Then you might look at Low NOx systems and their advantages. Here are some of the main issues involved in the various choices and options.
Water Heaters – What Size Tank Do I Need?
Water heaters range in size from 2.5 gallons to over 100 gallons. The size you need depends on the following factors:
- The type of power: Gas, electric, solar;
- The size of your family;
- The number of bathtubs and showers in your home;
- Other factors like whether you have a dishwasher or washing machine installed in your home.
Make sure you get a system that can supply the amount of hot water you and your family will need.
Best Source of Power for Water Heaters.
Next you must choose between gas power, electric power, or solar power. It’s a personal choice: some people prefer gas, others prefer electricity. In general, gas power is cheaper than electric power. Your decision may also depend on the type of power you have running your other major appliances. If the other appliances in your home are gas-powered or electric-powered, you probably want to stay with the same power source. A gas-powered water heater must be set above a vent so air can circulate around it: an electric water heater may be set directly on the ground. If you are thinking about going solar, there may be some significant savings on utility costs over gas or electricity, but you may also need to install a back-up water heater (powered by gas or electricity) so you have water on rainy or cloudy days.
Tankless Water Heater or Storage-Tank Style?
The new tankless water heaters heat up water only when you need it. The system is called “hot water on demand” and does not have to heat up an entire tank of water every time you need hot water. For this reason, tankless heaters are more cost-efficient than regular storage-type heaters. But they will cost a lot more to purchase. With a tankless system, you will never run out of hot water as there is no tank to become empty that needs to refill and re-heat before you have hot water again.
Consider the New Low NOx Water Heater
In recent years, a new development in water heaters has appeared on the scene. This is the Low NOx type of water heater. These heaters reduce the amount of noxious gas released into the atmosphere. Before, energy efficiency was sacrificed for environmental friendliness: today, the issue has been resolved by making the heaters more fuel-efficient while still providing enhanced reduction of potentially harmful noxious gases. Many professional plumbers feel that the new Low NOx water heaters are as cost-efficient as tankless water heaters.
Choosing the right water heater for your home can be a difficult decision. In addition to the factors discussed here, there are other issues which include building code and other safety and placement issues. Talk to a professional plumber before making any decision.