Storage Tank Water Heaters

Storage Tank Water Heaters
October 27, 2011 Lorelie

The most popular type of water heaters are the storage tank types.  This is because they are more affordable than any other types and that they are also easier to install.  This means you do not have to spend much on labor cost when you have a hire a professional to install the unit for you.  The only drawback to using storage tank water heaters is that they consume more energy as compared to tankless water heating systems.  The question when purchasing a storage tank type unit is whether the initial savings you get is all worth it, or whether the pricier tankless type and its installation would offer more savings in the long run.  The answer to this is you will have more saving if you buy a storage tank-type water heater.  This is according to the review and calculations done by ConsumerReports.org when they calculated in a 20-year span based purely on energy use that a tankless unit will not break-even the initial cost and installation expense as compared to the savings you will get from getting a storage tank water heater.  However, if the government gives tax credit when using a tankless water heater unit, then the computation will likely change in favor of the tankless unit.

These days, you will find more reviews of storage tank water heater brands as compared to other types.  According to surveys, water heater manufacturer’s Rheem, A.O. Smith, G.E., Maytag, Whirlpool, and Bradford White offer customer satisfaction.  Their units are available in different sizes and price ranges and come in six, nine or twelve years of warranty periods.  It is often suggested to get the unit that offers twelve years of warranty as their inner construction are made much better.

If you have an old unit and are replacing it, the most cost-effective way would be to find a newer model that uses the same energy source (electricity, gas, or propane) as your previous unit.   This method will greatly help to reduce installation costs and make installation a lot easier as there wouldn’t be any need to route anything else to the water heating unit.  Just make sure you take into consideration the space available and measure sparingly on where you will be placing your new unit as newer models are blanketed with extra insulation which takes space.  This added bulk in the water heating unit may no longer fit into the same space your older unit was previously installed at.  However, if you are building a home from the ground up, you might want to consider getting a storage tank water heater unit that uses natural gas.  Although they cost more to buy and install, it will save you a lot on utility bills in the long run.  This is because the cost of the gas it uses is roughly a third of the price when using electricity.

According to reviews, a 40 gallon tank is the perfect size for two people and a 50 gallon tank is recommended for a family of three or four.  However, if the master bedroom has a bit of distance from the other bathrooms, it is best to have two heaters to lessen the heat loss on the water lines due to the distance the heated water needs to travel.  In fact, such heat loss is even prevalent even when the pipes are well insulated.  Another option would be to use a ‘point of use’ tankless water heater unit in the master bedroom.

According to experts, if you have a storage tank water heater unit and want to make sure that it lasts for many years, you should equip your unit with a thermal expansion tank.  These are basically smaller tanks that provide a place for the heated water to go.  This will greatly help to reduce the wear not just to the main tank, but also to your entire plumbing system.  In fact, there are some areas that require the installation of a thermal expansion tank whenever a new storage tank heater is installed.  Nevertheless, it’s always a good idea to add one to an existing tank unit to help prolong its life.

Another way to help lengthen the lifespan of a water heater unit would be to adjust the heat settings accordingly.  This is because setting the temperature of the water heating unit at high levels would wear the unit over time, setting the stage for a possible failure later on.  Most water heater experts, manufacturers, and even the medical doctors recommend that you set the thermostat to 140° F in order to prevent the occurrence of Legionnaire’s Disease.  This is because according to the experts at the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), legionella bacteria, the bacteria that cause Legionnaire’s Disease, can breed in the stored water of a water heater.  In order to prevent this from happening, the water needs to be maintained at a temperature hot enough for them to multiply, rendering the water safe.  This is also the very reason why water heater experts and manufacturers recommend not turning off your unit when leaving your house as the stored water needs to be maintained hot enough.

One of the problems related to storage tank-style water heaters would be tank leaks and flooding.  Most steel water heaters are lined with porcelain or glass along with a suspended anode rod to help prevent rusting.  Since the anode rod will corrode first, as long as one is placed inside the tank, the steel tank will not corrode.  Corrosion is also very prevalent on gas-fired water heaters. This is especially true when heating hard water.  In order to prolong the life of your heater, regular maintenance along with the use of water softener is required.  On the other hand, there are some tank water heaters that are lined with stainless to avoid corrosion.  Another problem involved with storage tank water heaters is lime buildup, especially when hard water is involved.  This buildup will decrease the efficiency of the unit, making it consume more energy as it is supposed to.  In order to avoid such problem, it is recommended to use water softeners throughout and to flush the unit annually to prevent calcium deposits and lime buildup.

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