Things to Consider When Buying a Water Heater
You probably never think about your hot water system when it’s working right. Hot water is one of those things that most of us take for granted.
However, when something goes wrong with your hot water heater, suddenly all you can think about is your hot water system. Here are a few things to consider if you are in this position right now.
Hot Water Systems to Choose From
When it’s time to install a new hot water system, the easiest method is to install the same type that you had before. But that might not be the best option for your situation.
Different types of hot water systems have different pluses and minuses. Check out an overview here.
Electric systems are relatively inexpensive and water heater installation is simple, especially if you already have an electric system.
The main problem with electric hot water systems is that they are expensive to run. You can lower this cost by putting your system on a timer and only allowing it to run during off-peak times when electricity is cheaper. However, then you’ll need a decent-sized storage tank and there will be a certain amount of heat loss while it sits there.
Heat pumps are a more efficient version of the electric system. Like refrigerators, they extract heat from the air to help heat the water instead of generating all the heat with electricity.
Heat pumps make a lot of noise, so take this into consideration when choosing its location.
They are more expensive than regular electric systems but government rebates and incentives help bring the price down.
The most environmentally friendly system is a solar panel system. Plan to install at least two solar panels for a four-person household. You’ll also need a large tank to store heated water for days when the sun isn’t shining as strong.
Installation is time-consuming and more expensive than other options. Again, government incentives help with the cost.
The last option to consider is natural gas, if you have the connection for it. The price of gas doesn’t fluctuate throughout the day, which is a benefit over electricity. But keep in mind that it’s a fossil fuel and the world is moving away from those as much as possible. Gas prices may go up significantly in the future.
Storage Tank vs Continuous Systems
The next consideration is what method you want to use for heating water.
Storage tanks allow your system to heat the water and hold it in reserve for whenever you’re ready for it. This method always allows a bit of heat loss (wasted energy) as the water sits in the tank.
A continuous system (also called instantaneous) heats the water as needed. The size of the unit is based on the number of hot water outlets rather than the number of people. It needs to be large enough to serve multiple outlets at once in a home with more than one bathroom.
Choosing a System That Fits Your Needs
The main concern is to get a hot water system that works for your household. Whichever type you choose, make sure it will be large enough to meet your needs, but not so large that you’re overpaying to use it.
Talk to an expert plumber to get the best advice for what will work for your home.