Water heaters have become a standard appliance in most homes in order to stay warm when the unforgiving cold weather strikes, or simply to enjoy a regular warm bath after a long day at work. For most households, water heating is one of the biggest energy consumers in the house, after heating and lighting.
To ensure that you’re being as efficient as possible and maximizing on your energy savings, you should get the right water heater for your household.
Tank vs. Tankless Water Heaters
The use of tankless water heaters has been catching on in America as an alternative to storage tank models. While the latter constantly heat water stored in a tank, tankless units only heat water when you need. These point-of-use models use either electric or gas-powered heat exchangers to quickly heat water to a preset temperature. Some benefits of tankless water heaters include:
- Minimal space usage – they are ideal for homes with limited use, since they can be easily mounted on the walls and around your home, saving valuable floor space.
- More energy efficient compared to storage tank models, giving you up to 20 percent savings on your water heating bill.
- Constant supply of hot water
- Last 5-10 years longer than storage tank models
- Readily available replacement parts to extend their life
- Lower risk of flooding due to a cracked tank
However, tankless units take time before hot water comes out, which can lead to water wastage. Also, gas units are not as eco-friendly as electric units. First, they cost up to 3 times the cost of conventional heaters. Second, gas units require regular servicing for venting the gas or propane. Third, they produce greenhouse gases.
While the initial cost for electrical units is quite low, they are more expensive to maintain because of the high cost of electricity. So, if you already have gas installed in your home, a gas-powered water heater is the most logical option.
Source of Fuel
Water heaters are mostly powered by one of two-mechanisms; gas or electricity. Homes without natural gas can use propane cylinders or oil water heaters to heat water in a tank. You can also install solar water heaters in conjunction with a conventional water heater, though this option largely depends on where you live.
To save money on water-heating bills, regardless of the unit you buy, consider buying an energy efficient model. The initial cost of the energy-efficient tankless water heaters is higher than their counterparts, but the savings you realize in future are worth it.