Hot water is a luxury most people do not want to go without for even one day. We all use hot water in so many different ways: to wash dishes or clothes, to bathe ourselves, and to relax after a hard day’s work. To do any of these things, you need a reliable water heater. If you are building a new house, expanding your existing one, looking to change your method of hot water delivery, or need a new hot water heater, you might be curious about what the different types of water heaters are and how they operate. Before you select a type of water heater, you will want to consider what your options are.
Types of Water Heaters
Conventional Storage Tank Water Heater – This is the most common type of water heater. It has an insulated tank in which water is heated and stored until it is needed. Tank water heaters can utilize any fuel source, including natural gas, propane, or electric. They come in a variety of capacities. If you have a large family, shower at the same time, or use a great deal of hot water in your everyday living, you will want to consider installing a water heater with a larger tank so you never run out of hot water.
Maintenance issues that tank water heaters experience are sediment buildup and dirty combustion air inlet. Sediment stems from the minerals in the water separating during the heating process. The other maintenance issue on all tank water heaters 10 years and newer is the sealed burner; these have a screen that filters the combustion air going into the burner. These screens will clog and cause the water heater to stop working. Sediment from the water builds at the bottom of the tank. The sediment buildup in the tank causes the heater to work harder to heat the water, which results in less hot water and high utility cost. For all of these reasons, conventional storage tank water heaters need to be serviced yearly. Regular service will help extend the life of your tank water heater to its expected 10-12 years.
Most tank style water heaters are less than 70% efficient and lose, on average, 4 degrees an hour of the tank temperature when it’s not in use. This means the heater turns on about 4-6 times a day to maintain hot water in the tank – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Heat Pump Water Heaters – Heat pump water heaters operate by moving heat from one place to another instead of generating it directly. They pull heat from the air and draw it into a tank to be used to heat water – like a refrigerator in reverse. Heat pump water heaters are more energy efficient than standard water heaters and cost less to operate, but they can only be installed in locations that maintain temperatures of 40-90 degrees Fahrenheit year round. These are a great option to replace an electric only water heater.
Tankless On-Demand Water Heaters – Tankless water heaters do not store water but instead heat water with coils that emit intense amounts of heat as the cold water passes through the heater. These models are much more energy efficient, as they only heat what is needed when it’s needed. They also last longer and cost less to operate. Most utility companies have rebates available for them when you have a professional install them. Depending on the model installed, tankless heaters can provide continuous hot water as needed for large families all taking hot showers at the same time. Tankless water heaters must also be descaled of minerals that accumulate from hard water at least once a year in order to best function.
Your water heater should be serviced annually in order to flush out buildup. This will keep it operating properly, efficiently, and extend the life of the unit.
Your Water Heater Expert
Water heater installation or replacement is best left to professional plumbers who understand both current regulations and the requirements of the water heaters themselves. Lake Michigan Mechanical is your water heater expert in Grand Rapids and West Michigan. No matter what type of water heater you need, Lake Michigan Mechanical can install it quickly and at a fair price. Contact us today to start on your new hot water installation.