Types of Water Heaters – What Is Best For You?

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The Water heater is an essential household good that is present in almost every house. It usually malfunctions and requires more maintenance after its useful life. Therefore, we all need to replace our water heater after several years, or after its warranty period. To buy a new water heater, you should know about the types of water heaters. Due to the advancement of technology, there are many types of water heaters available in the market. All of them have different pros and cons.

There can be many ways of classification of water heaters. Some water heaters have tanks fitted in them, and some are tankless. Different types of water heaters use different types of fuels, such as natural gas, electricity, propane, solar energy, geothermal energy, and many more. It is good to know which water heater is suitable for our use. If you are going to buy a new water heater, then you should know about its types. We will discuss the types of water heaters and their characteristics in this article.

Types of Water Heaters

The main types of water heaters available are,

  1. Gas Water Heaters (Tank-type)
  2. Electric Water Heaters
  3. Condensing Water Heaters
  4. Solar Water Heaters
  5. Heat Pump Water Heaters

We will discuss the above types of water heaters in detail that will help you to select a new water heater for yourself.

1) Gas Water Heaters (Tank-type)

Gas water heaters are very common water heaters. You can also call them as conventional water heaters. It uses natural gas as fuel. It has its tank, and the size of a gas water heater depends on the volume of its container. For residential use, the shells are from 20-120 gallons. Its running cost is much cheaper than an electric water heater.

There is a gas burner in it, which heats the water in the tank after ignition. It takes several minutes to heat the water. These water heaters have a flow rate such as 5 gallons per minute. Gradually the appliance achieves this flow rate at a specific temperature.

You can select your water heater according to your desired flow rate. There is a thermostat placed on the front of the radiator which controls the temperature of the water. You can adjust the desired temperature with it.

There are instant gas heaters as well. They heat water on demand. They have a control mechanism that starts the ignition when someone opens a faucet. After closing the valve, the fire gets automatically extinguished. It saves energy a lot as compared to tank-type gas water heaters.

2) Electric Water Heaters

Electric water heats use electricity to increase the temperature of the water. Electricity passes through resistance and dissipates energy. The dissipated power is used to heat the water. There are two types of electric water heater. One is with a tank, and the other is without vat. The tankless electric water heater is an on-demand water heater that heats the water on-demand only. While the tank-type heats the water present in the tank, and you cannot use it instantly. It requires several minutes to heat the water.

The running cost of an electric water heater is much higher than the gas water heater.

3) Condensing Water Heaters

Condensing water heaters also use natural gas as fuel. In a gas water heater, the combustion takes place outside the tank, and the hot air gets passed through the pipes. While the condensing water heaters have a combustion chamber inside the container. This fact means there is less heat loss.

It uses the exhaust gases to heat the water entering the heater. Therefore, the flue gases from this type of heater are not as hot as from a gas water heater. The initial cost of a condensing water heater is higher than gas water heaters, but its efficiency is also higher.

4) Solar Water Heaters

Solar water heaters use renewable solar energy to heat the water. Its initial cost is high, but its running cost is almost free. A simple solar water heater has an absorption plate, pipes in which water runs, and an insulated body.

There are different kinds of solar water heaters available, but the most common one is Evacuated Tube Solar Water Heater. It contains tubes that are vacuum so that the heat cannot escape out of it. Inside that evacuated tube, there is an absorber plate and a fluid inside another container. The absorber plate absorbs the energy, and the liquid is heated. This heated fluid changes into gas and exchanges the heat in a heat exchanger with water.

5) Heat Pump Water Heaters

Heat pump water heaters also use electricity as an energy source. However, power is not used to heat the water. Instead, it is used to flow the heat. The heat from the air is circulated into the heater to increase the temperature of the water. It uses only 40% of electricity to heat the water as compared to the electric water heater.

The pump generally located at the top of the heater. Therefore there should be a clearance of 8-10 feet above it. It saves more energy than an electric water heater, but it is the most expensive of all the types of heaters.

Questions and Answers

Which is the best type of water heater for residential use?

The gas water heater is the best water heater for residential use. Its running cost is also low. You can either buy a tankless or tank-type gas water heater for your home. Its installation is straightforward, and its life is about 8-12 years (conventional gas water heater).

For a tank-type water heater, what size should I choose?

The size depends on the number of people and their usage. For an idea, please refer to the following table.

Which heater is an environmental friendly heater?

The solar water heater is an environmental friendly heater as it doesn’t require any fuel. It uses renewable solar energy to heat the water.

Which heater doesn’t require ventilation?

The electric water heater doesn’t require ventilation. Therefore, it takes less space. A tankless electric heater is right for less space.