Water Heaters – Which One is Right For Your Home?

Hot water is an essential home appliance, but it’s often taken for granted until yours goes out. Then you’re faced with a cold shower and possibly a flooded basement.

Water Heaters

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Traditional storage tank heaters have a large tank that heats water before it’s needed and stores it for future use. Using natural gas, electricity, fuel oil or propane, these tanks keep a supply of hot water at the ready until it’s demanded. They are more economical than their counterparts and operate without a lot of maintenance requirements, aside from regular flushing to remove mineral sediment.

The earliest storage tank water heaters were boilers that used flames from a gas or coal fire to heat the inside of the tank wall, transferring radiant and convective heat to the water. Then, engineers developed immersion heaters that use the same principle, but with heated tubes immersed in the liquid. These are still the most common industrial tank heaters today, and they are available in a range of sizes to accommodate different processes.

Electric industrial heaters are also used to heat liquids in tanks that cannot be easily insulated, or when it is impractical to install immersion heaters. These systems feature an electric heating element that is inserted into the tank and fed by a circulation pump that draws cold product from the tank through the heater, delivering a consistent mixture to the point of discharge or injection.

These heaters are the best option for temperature-sensitive liquids that can be damaged by too much heat, such as asphalt and emulsions. They dissipate controlled heat as low as three watts per square inch on the heater sheath, keeping the fluid from coking or deteriorating inside the tank. They are also an excellent choice for reducing the viscosity of liquids to make them easier to pour or spray.

Tankless Heaters

Tankless heaters eliminate the need for a water tank and deliver hot water on demand, saving energy by heating only when needed. Generally, they last longer than traditional tank-type heaters—which can suffer from corrosion and leaks that shorten their life span. They can also cost more upfront to purchase and install, though long-term energy savings on your utility bill offset this upfront investment. The models on our list range from affordable to high-end, so you can find one that fits your household needs and budget.

This model from Rinnai is priced at the high end of our selection, but it features an energy efficient design and a robust warranty that includes 15 years of heat exchanger coverage and five years of parts coverage. It delivers 24 to 34 percent more energy efficiency than storage tank units, depending on your daily water usage. Its compact size and digital display make it easier to monitor and control than larger units. It has multiple sensors to detect and address issues, including a flame sensor that monitors incoming gas to ensure safe operation. And it can detect and shut off if there’s a low flow of water from a faucet or showerhead (to prevent overheating), or if there is a clogged inlet filter, which can inhibit performance.

When a hot-water tap is turned on, a flow sensor (2) detects the presence of water and sends a signal to the unit’s control panel (3). The control panel (3) then activates the fan (4) to draw in air from outside and opens the gas valve (5) to let in natural or propane gas. As the air passes through a heat exchanger (6), it’s heated by flames in a burner (7) and then flows to the mixing valve (8), where the temperature is lowered before it exits the heat exchanger and heads to the faucet.

This model is a good choice for individuals who live alone or couples who want to save money on their energy bills, though it’s not rated for enough GPM to meet the needs of large families. Its electric heat pump is quiet and about a third smaller than a gas or propane unit, making it easy to install under sinks or in small closets. It requires three 40-amp double-pole breakers to operate, which is why it’s a good idea to have a professional upgrade your home’s wiring and gas line before installing a tankless water heater.

Gas Heaters

As the summer season starts to fade into fall and winter, you’ll need to think about turning on your heating system. This means that you’ll need to decide what kind of heater is right for your home.

For many homeowners, gas heaters are the best choice for their needs. They’re able to heat up rooms quickly and efficiently. They also have the ability to maintain a consistent temperature for longer periods of time than electric heaters can.

Most gas heaters have a natural gas or propane fuel source. They use burners to create heat, which is then dispersed throughout the room through a fan or blower. They’re typically a little pricier than other types of heaters, but they’re a good option for homeowners looking for high quality heat in their homes.

Some models are designed to act as flued gas heaters, which can be a better choice for those living in older homes that may have chimneys built into them. Others are designed to be portable and can be moved around your home, depending on the size of the space you need to warm. Portable gas heaters are typically smaller than other models, and they’re easy to set up and take down.

Many gas heaters are also a great choice for people who want to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. However, it’s important to remember that they do require proper venting and can only be used in areas where there’s a working natural gas line or propane tank.

The best gas heaters feature a wide range of features, including electronic thermostatic controls and remote control. Some even have low-emission technology, which helps to reduce your energy bills. These are a great choice for homeowners who are concerned about the environment, but they’re often a bit more expensive than other options.

If you’re in the market for a new heater, it’s important to keep in mind that all of our top picks come from reputable brands with excellent customer service. While it’s tempting to try a trial and error approach with some of these products, it’s always safer to consult an expert or the manufacturer. This way, you can be sure that your new heater is a good fit for your Carrollton home.

Electric Heaters

Electric heaters use electrical power to heat and store water. They are usually located in the basement or cellar of a home or commercial building and provide hot water for sinks, showers, laundry and dishwashing. Electricity for heating and running appliances is generated from a variety of sources, including solar, wind and nuclear energy, as well as fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. Both electric and gas models of water heaters are available in a variety of sizes to meet household needs.

The upfront costs of electric models are typically less than those for gas-powered units. But they may cost more to operate over the long run, depending on local electricity rates and the price of gas. And, since they can be more expensive to replace than a gas model, it’s important to do the math to understand long-term costs.

Unlike gas units, which require a vent pipe to allow exhaust gases to escape, electric heaters don’t need such a pipe. You can tell if yours is an electric heater by looking for a hole topped by a metal flue at the top of the unit. You may also see a wire that enters the bottom of the unit—it’s typically black, although it can be copper.

Many electric models are ENERGY STAR certified, meaning they meet specific energy efficiency standards and can help lower your utility bills. This is especially important if you plan on installing solar panels to power your home. Your solar panels can only generate so much energy, so you want to ensure that your appliances—including your water heater—use as little as possible of the power they produce.

Because they don’t require a gas line, electric water heaters are easy to install. Most can be fitted to a home’s existing electrical connections. However, a professional is recommended for any water heater installation or replacement. The installer will connect the new appliance to your home’s plumbing and make sure it meets all local codes and regulations for safe operation. He or she can also answer any questions about your water heater and its operation.