Comparing water heating technologies
Water Heaters have become a touchy issue with the advances in technology. There is your standard tank style water heaters that use natural gas, propane, or electricity to heat water then store it inside of the water heater storage tank. There are Tankless water heaters that heat water with natural gas, propane, or electricity as you use it. And there are Heat Pump style water heaters that heat water using thermal transfer to heat the water then store it inside the tank. There are pros and cons to all the types of water heaters and it�s important to look at these issues while deciding what water heater you want to have installed.
Tank Style Water Heaters
These are the least efficient style of water heaters. They vary in size from 40gal. to 75gal residential models. Downside is you�re constantly heating and storing the water whether you are using it or not. These water heaters are installed in 80% of the homes in America. Some of the advantages of installing a tank style water heater are the cost of installation, maintenance, and replacement. This style of water heater can be installed in almost any place in the home from garages, closets, mechanical rooms, attics, crawl spaces and basement, and in outbuildings connected to the exterior of the home.
Tankless Style Water Heaters
These are very efficient since your not heating water that you are not using. Another positive aspect of the tankless design is that you never run out of hot water. Sizing of a tankless system is very important to each independent build. Tankless technology uses temperature rise, in relation to gallons per minute. If a tankless water heater is undersized for the application you will not be able to heat the water as fast as you may be using it. Some of the draw backs to installing a tankless water heater include. Cost of installation, maintenance, and replacement. Also since the water heater slows down the volume of water traveling though the coil so it can heat it thoroughly it takes longer for the hot water to get to the fixture that�s calling for the hot water. With a tankless water heater you can�t install a recirculation pump as this eliminates the efficiency because you will be heating the water all the time. Tankless water heaters are best installed in homes where the floor plan has all the plumbing fixtures in close relation to each other.
Heat Pump Style Water Heaters
Heat pump water heaters are more efficient then both previous types discussed, as these use environmental temperature to heat your water. These models do come with electric elements to supplement heating capacity when temperatures drop below 44 degrees Fahrenheit, and also during high demand when the heat pump can�t keep up with demand for hot water. These models are a little bigger, and bulkier then their standard water heater ancestors. And cost quite a bit more, but they are the most efficient water heater on the market at this time. The problem with these water heaters are that they are limited in where they can be installed. Since they use heat pump technology, it is pointless to install them in any heated space inside the house. Think of it this way if you heat your house with electricity, then your water heater steals this heat from that space, theoretically you have just installed a very inefficient, and costly electric water heater. Heat pump water heaters need to be installed in unheated garages for best results.
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