Having a water heater in the home allows you to have consistent hot water to meet household demands like showering, laundry, and more. Given that there are different types of water heaters, it is important to know what water heater system works for you and meets your needs.
When choosing a water heater, it’s good to know the different types; and the advantages and disadvantages of each. You also need to consider a few factors like the size of the water heating system, fuel source, cost of installation, and size of your household.
To help you get started, we have discussed in this article the different types of water heater systems and the positives and negatives of each system.
Types of Water Heaters
Conventional Water Heater
This is the most popular water heater, and it includes a large insulated storage tank that holds heated water. The heater can be powered by electricity, oil, liquid propane, or natural gas.
The tank comes with a gauge that controls and maintains the temperature of the water. There is also a pressure valve that controls the pressure inside the tank.
With this type of water heater, water is heated continuously. That is because when the water level in the tank drops, it’s automatically replenished with cold water, which is then heated by electrical elements inside the tank or a gas flame underneath the tank. So at no point are you going to lack hot water.
Conventional water heaters are available in varying sizes. A large tank will provide an ample supply of hot water for a large family, while a small tank works well for people who live alone.
Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters or on-demand water heaters, don’t utilize a water tank like conventional water heaters. Instead, water is heated by an inbuilt electric element or gas burner when needed. It is as simple as turning your shower on, and you’ll get hot water as long as you have power or gas.
The problem with tankless water heaters is that they cannot provide adequate hot water for multiple simultaneous usages. In other words, two people in the same household cannot use hot water at the same time.
Tankless water heaters supply about 5 gallons of water per minute, and a regular shower uses about 2.5 gallons per minute. So two people cannot shower at the same time because the flow rate is low.
To meet the simultaneous demands of your household, you need to install more than one tankless water heater. You can install for appliances that use a lot of hot water like your dishwasher, washing machine, and shower.
Solar Water Heater
Solar water heaters, much like conventional water heaters, utilize a storage tank. However, solar water heaters rely on the sun to heat water. The heating mechanism is not complex. The systems use solar panels to capture sunlight, a storage tank to store the heated water, and a circulating pump to transmit the solar energy from the solar panel to the thermal regulator and the storage tank.
The advantage of solar water systems is that they still work well even when there is no sunshine because they come with a gas or electricity backup heater.
Condensing Water Heater
Condensing water heaters work best in a household that uses natural gas. Why?
They capture the gas fumes from the natural gas and convert them into hot water through condensation. The water heating systems come with heat exchangers.
Both exchangers work to capture as much heat from the flue gas as possible. For example, if you are cooking using natural gas, the heat that escapes from your appliance is what the exchanger captures, turns it into condensed liquid, hence the heated water.
Hybrid Water Heaters
Hybrid water heaters don’t use a power source to heat water; instead, they use heat from the ground or air to heat water. These systems come with a storage tank and use a large pump to pump the captured air to the system where the water is heated.
They are energy efficient, but they are not suitable in cold climates because they rely on heat from the ground or at atmosphere to heat water.