Cold shower. Water all over your basement floor. You’re familiar with the unfortunate signs that your hot water heater has called it quits (and if you aren’t, check out last week’s blog post!), but if it has survived for its expected lifespan (10-15 years), chances are you are less familiar with the hot water heaters available to today’s consumer. With more options than ever, the hot water heater market can be a confusing place to find yourself–especially after spending all morning mopping up the mess in the basement.
Firstly, consider the hot water demands of your household. Do you live alone? Do you have a small family that showers at different times of the day? Or are many people in your household rushing to shower each morning around the same time? And how frequently do you use the dishwasher and washing machine? The answers to these kinds of questions will help you decide if you can make do with a smaller capacity tank, or if it’s wise to invest in a larger one.
After considering the factors mentioned above, you can start deciding what type of water heater is right for your home.
You are probably most familiar with a Storage Tank Water Heater. It does exactly what you’d imagine. as Consumer Reports explains, “water is heated and stored until needed, then emerges from a pipe on top of the water heater.” This option is a good choice for households that have high hot water demands; the large storage tank can hold enough hot water to get everyone comfortably through their morning showers. On the other hand, this model is the least energy-efficiency choice, as water stored in the tank gradually loses heat.
A newer approach to water heaters is the Tankless Water Heater. It provides water on demand by heating it with coils and delivering it when it’s needed instead of storing it in a large tank. While this option is more energy-efficient, it’s “best for people who typically aren’t drawing water for more than one use at a time—running a shower and dishwasher simultaneously.”
Lastly, you’ll find Hybrid Heat-Pump Water Heaters. These “capture heat from the air and transfer it to the water. They use about 60 percent less energy than standard electric water heaters.” Major savings! The downsides? They can only be installed in climates that stay above 40 degrees, they require special space considerations to be properly installed, and they are more expensive up-front than the other models.
NJ LIC. NO.13VH01727600
Robert W. Vaughan,
Master HVACR Contractor Lic. # 5842
Thomas J. Weaver,
Master Plumber Lic # 9521