Tankless, Conventional, or Solar? How to Choose a New Water Heater for Your Home

Tankless water heater

Choosing a new water heater can be overwhelming. There are so many options on the market that finding the right one for you can be daunting. And you can’t wait too long to replace your water heater or you’ll be left in the lurch.

What Are Your Options?

Before deciding which water heater is for you, it’s best to know what options are even on the market. Of course, there is the conventional storage water heater, the tankless water heater, the heat pump water heater, solar water heater, and the tankless coil water heater.

Conventional Water Heaters

  • The most popular type of water heater uses a ready reservoir of hot water.
  • Releases hot water when you turn the tap and cold water replenishes from the bottom.
  • There are more options on the energy source for this type of water heater.
  • Water is heated until the thermal point is reached, but you waste energy in the heat loss.
  • Heavily insulated tanks can protect against heat loss and lower operating costs, but can be expensive.

Tankless Water Heaters

  • Cold water flows through heat exchanger powered by either gas or electricity
  • Don’t produce standby heat loss which helps save money on your energy bills.
  • Don’t need to wait for storage tank to heat up for hot water
  • Most provide hot water at a rate of 2-5 gallons per minute
  • But if one has long hot shower and dishwasher it can tax it
  • When adequately sized the amount of hot water isn’t an issue

Heat Pump Water Heaters

  • These pull heat in from the surrounding air and transfer it to a tank
  • They’re commonly used with systems to heat and cool the house
  • They’re easy to use with another type of water heater to increase hot water
  • Geothermal pumps work similarly and can be used with a heat pump water heater
  • These can be used with a conventional water heater

Solar Water Heating

  • Sometimes called solar domestic hot water systems
  • Both an active and a passive system
  • The active system includes direct and indirect circulation systems
  • The passive system includes integral collector-storage passive system and the thermosyphon system.
  • Less than 1% of water heating systems in the United States are solar powered, but it is a popular water heating method abroad.

Tankless Coil & Indirect Water Heaters

Indirect Water Heaters

  • Also known as integrated or combination water and space heating systems, these use home space heaters to heat water
  • These do use a tank, but they’re very efficient for most homes because they heat a heat transfer fluid that is connected to the furnace. That heat transfer fluid moves into the water heater tank and heats the water via a heat exchanger.
  • Energy stored in water tank can help the furnace turn on less and save energy money.

Tankless Coil

  • Water is heated through a heating coil or heat exchange in a furnace or boiler
  • Very efficient during cold month when the heating system is regularly used
  • This can be energy inefficient in general

What to Consider When Picking a Water Heating System

That’s a lot of information to consider about the different water heating systems. It’s easier to narrow down your options by considering these criteria.

  • Energy Source: Some types of water heaters use energy sources that aren’t viable in all parts of the United State. Solar is readily available in Southern California, but fuel oil isn’t.
  • Size: How much hot water your household uses is crucial to understanding the size water heater you need and whether certain types of water heaters will make sense.
  • Energy Efficiency: The energy efficiency of your water heater can dramatically change your energy bills, an efficient system can pay for itself.
  • Cost: It’s not just about the up front cost, but the operating cost year over year. A system that might be cheaper upfront could cost as much or more than a more efficient system in operations costs.

Your water heater costs come down to the type of water heater you choose and its efficiency. With the current drought, it’s important to be energy conscious but also water conscious in selecting a system. The longer it takes your water to heat up the more water you have to use. Evaluate your water heater and explore your options with our specialists today!



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