Home Water Heaters
The Three Main Types of Water Heating Systems and their Benefits
The object of any type of water heater is simple: to provide the home with a constant and viable source of hot water for cooking, washing and heating. However, the means by which this is accomplished can vary widely. Let us examine three of the most common water heaters.
A tankless water heater is the most modern design. These contain an electrical or gas heating element that is activated when the water is needed. These heaters will supply as much hot water is necessary and the flow will be constant. They generally have a greater capacity than older models and as they contain less moving parts, tankless heaters have a lifespan of twenty years or longer.
Gas water heaters are the second most common to be found in a home. As the name denotes, natural gas or propane is the heating element. These are more efficient than electric heaters (up to forty percent less energy used) and require very little insulation to produce copious amounts of hot water. They are easy to both repair and install and represent a cost-effective alternative to the previously mentioned models that contain no tank.
A final type of heater is one that is electrically powered. Maintenance on these heaters is easy and due to their small size, they are ideal for mobile homes and other tight spaces. However, these devices are slow to heat water and they draw a considerable amount of power; requiring a separate circuit breaker.
So, the three main types of water heaters are:
- Those without water tanks.
- Gas-powered models.
- Electrically-driven heaters.
Drawbacks of the Three Main Types of Water Heating Systems
While each system has some notable benefits, it is also important to look at the drawbacks that can help influence a decision as to which one may be best to purchase.
When referring to tankless models, nearly a gallon of water will need to be spent before the water becomes appreciably hot. As there is no tank, much less water can be heated at any given time; perhaps problematic for large families.
Those that utilize gases are quite easy to install and repair, but an appreciable amount of water may be wasted, as the water needs to be circulated and heated again if the tank cools down.
The aforementioned problems of slow heating and power consumption are the major factors involved with electric models. However, some of the newer models can be placed outdoors and will use a hybrid solar energy-electric system that can compensate for this usage.
To summarize, some of the primary drawbacks of each type of heater include:
- Heaters without tanks will require more water before they will become heated and they will provide less water to large households.
- Heaters driven by propane or natural gases waste more water and take longer to heat up if shut down.
- Electric heaters draw large amounts of energy and may be slow to heat water.
As we can see, each of these models has its own sets of benefits and drawbacks. Nonetheless, designs that contain no tanks are quickly becoming the most popular alternative. In fact, brand name companies claim to have some of the most efficient hybrid models on the marketplace and this technology can only be expected to become more advanced into the future.