What Is A Water Heater?

When selecting a new water heater for your home, choose a water heating system that will not only provide enough hot water but also that will do so energy efficiently, saving you money. This includes considering the different types of water heaters available and determining the right size and fuel source for your home.

Every home has a water heater and most of us are familiar with the big metal cylinders that can be found tucked away in our laundry room, basement or special “hot water cupboard”. Like all technology though, water heaters are constantly evolving with new design, new fuel systems and new sizing.

Storage Hot Water Heaters:

  • Inexpensive and widely available in a variety of sizes.
  • Waste 10%-15% of energy through radiant heat loss.
  • Can run out of hot water during extended use.
  • Life expectancy 10-15 years.
  • Average EF rating 0.67.
Storage_hot_water_heater

Tankless Hot Water Heaters:

  • Take up little space and can be mounted inside or on an outside wall.
  • Little or no standby energy loss.
  • Use 20% to 30% less energy than comparable storage tank models.
  • Hot water flow rate is limited by the size of the unit.
  • Can be expensive and costly to install.
  • Life expectancy 20 or more years
  • Average EF rating 0.75
tankless_water_heaters

Solar Hot Water Heaters:

  • Low to no energy cost.
  • Savings can pay for the unit in 8-12 years.
  • Requires the collector to be in full sun throughout the year.
  • Expensive and costly to install.
  • Usually use a conventional water heater for backup.
  • Life expectancy 20 or more years
solar_hot_water_heater

Heat Pump Hot Water Heaters:

  • Low operating costs.
  • Can only be installed in locations that stay between 4°-32° C.
  • Do not operate efficiently in a cold space.
  • Can install an air-source heat pump that combines heating, cooling, and water heating; or a standalone heat pump just for heating water.
  • Can be two to three times more energy efficient than electric water heaters.
  • Higher initial cost than storage water heaters.
  • Colder climates using a heat pump water heater may add to heating and cooling loads.
heat_pump_hot_water_heaters

The newer styles have generally lost the big bulky tank completely in favour of hot water-on-demand. What makes a water heater (no matter which type you have) interesting is that they exploit the heat rising principle to deliver hot water right to your tap with a minimum of fuss.
To create hot water, a scientific process called thermodynamics is required. This process uses an energy source to heat water above the initial temperature it arrives into your home at. In a typical home, we use hot water in cooking, cleaning, bathing, and space heating.
There are various types of water heaters available and the type you choose will inherently depend on where you are based, how many people are going to be using hot water and the kind of energy sources you’ll be using (electric, gas, solar or wood).

Your water heater is a cleverly designed system that heats cold water to an ambient temperature. They are generally reliable and can operate for years without any issues. When water comes into your home, depending on the time of the year, it makes a journey through a system of pipes, and it’s usually cold or cool. If you are not a fan of bathing in cold water or washing your dishes or clothes in cold water, then you need a water heater.

When choosing a water heater, you should keep an eye out for a technical term – “recovery rate”. The Recovery Rate is the speed at which a water heater heats your water to 37.7C in an hour. Once you draw water faster than it’s heated, the temperature drops. Choosing a water heater that has an appropriate capacity and recovery rate depends on how much water your home demands and how your unit heats the water. Typically, heaters with low recovery rates have a high tank capacity. Although it takes longer to heat the water, there’s more of it for intermittent use. Electric heaters fall into this category. On the other hand, a fuel-fired heater (gas or oil) with a high recovery rate needn’t have a large tank, because it can heat the water faster. In general, electric models have the lowest recovery rate, and oil-fired units have the highest.
If you’re considering replacing or simply installing a new water heater, looking at the various advantages and disadvantages is always wise. Some of the general pros and cons we can share with you are:

We know that purchasing a water heater requires a lot of thought. Call us on 0800 429 546 today and we can help you select the best water heater for your needs.