The Various Types of Water Heaters

The Various Types of Water Heaters
June 14, 2012 Lorelie

Are you currently in the market shopping for your next water heater?  These days, you should be well aware of the fact that there are many types of water heaters available for you to choose from.  Most people normally are only aware of the fact that their only option is the traditional storage tank type water heater or the more modern tankless ones.  If you are a conscious consumer who wants to get the best deal out of your hard-earned money, it is ideal that you get the best water heater that can deliver hot water for your everyday needs, be eco-friendly, affordable, able to meet you and your family’s hot water demands, easy to maintain and repair or replace if the need arises, and most importantly, can last you a very long time.

Below are different types of water heaters that can help you decide which one is the best for you.  Normally, water heaters are essentially grouped according to their fuel source, the type of technology used, their size as well as other features.

Types of Water Heaters According to Size and Technology Used

  • Storage or Tank-type Water Heaters

Storage or tank-type water heaters for residential purposes are considered to be the most popular of all heating systems.  Hot water is always available for use. Even if you are away, the water heater is keeping the hot water available for you.

  • Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters, also called on-demand water heaters, are water heating units that do not have any tank at all.  They heat the water only when needed, which can be very beneficial for you since it reduces energy consumption and also your expenses at the same time.  They can last longer than the traditional storage or tank-type water heaters and they are more eco-friendly.

  • Electric Heat Pump Water Heaters

Electric heat pump water heaters is an inexpensive method of heating water which utilizes electricity in order to extract heat from the air and then move heat from one location to another, which produces hot water very efficiently.

Types of Water Heaters According to Fuel Source

  • Gas Water Heaters

Gas water heaters may use either natural gas or propane gas.  If you have no problem acquiring natural or propane gas, then this type of water heater is a very good choice as gas-powered units are considered to be one of the most energy-efficient systems.  Gas water heaters can either be a tank or tankless unit.  In order to find out how much hot water it can make, just take a look at the water heater’s specs and the gas input in BTU per hour.

  • Electric Water Heaters

If electricity is most convenient for you to use and it is the only one available that you can use, then you can opt for an electric water heater for your hot water needs.  These units may have a higher energy factor than the gas types, but they can turn out to be more expensive in the long run.

  • Solar Water Heaters

Solar water heaters simply harness the power of the sun in order to heat the water.  In the long run, using this solar energy that is renewable and virtually free, solar water heaters can prove to be an excellent lifelong investment.

  • Wood-fired or Wood-burning Water Heaters

Wood fired water heaters and wood furnaces are types of heating appliances that utilize wood in order to do heating tasks such as home heating, for cooking and for water heating.

  • Oil-fired Water Heaters

Oil-fired water heater units are a very conventional method of heating water, and they are becoming less popular for home use due to the ever-increasing availability of gas, electricity and other green-tech systems.  Another reason why they are becoming less popular is that they are more expensive to install and they only last a few years or so.

Other Types of Water Heaters

  • Condensing Water Heaters

Condensing water heaters are energy-efficient systems with only less than 10% of energy loss emitted (storage tank water heater units are with 40% loss), and they also use the heat energy from the flue gases.  Due to the fact that they need professional installation and regular maintenance service, condensing water heater units are typically considered to be more on the expensive side.  They are most popular in European areas with brands such as Buderus, Junkers and Vaillant.

  • High-efficiency Water Heaters

The main reasons why people love to use high-efficiency water heaters are: to maximize energy, experience better performance, and minimize operating costs.  High-efficiency water heaters are easily recognizable since they carry the Energy Star seal, which is the international symbol for energy efficiency.

  • Direct Vent Water Heaters

Direct vent water heaters are the most appropriate solution if you are planning to have a gas water heater but you do not actually have proper ventilation to the outside environment, such as through the chimney.  Direct vent water heaters have a built-in venting system which brings in the air and then forces the fumes out, but without the need of using an electric-powered blower.

  • Power Vent Water Heaters

Power vent water heaters are somewhat similar to the direct vent water heater units; however, it utilizes an electrically-operated powered vent (blower) in order to help with mechanically exhausting the combustion gases to the outside environment.

  • Indirect Water Heaters

If in case you already possess a furnace or boiler with a burner, by just combining it with a high-efficient storage tank, you can now have a very efficient system for heating.  These types of systems are typically called indirect water heaters.

  • Point of Use Water Heaters

Point of use water heaters (also called under sink water heaters, under cabinet water heaters, or under counter water heaters) are typically small water heaters that are designed either as a mini-storage tank or tankless unit, and are used for heating water at the point of service, often installed under the kitchen sink.  These point of use water heaters are very popular in residential applications because they can provide instant hot water without taking up a lot of space and without the need for long connections to the main water pipe.

  • RV Water Heaters

RV water heaters typically use propane gas and 120 V AC.  Depending on the overall size of the RV, the most common RV water heaters used are the 6-gallon and the 10-gallon tanks.  They are fairly easy to operate, maintain and most important of all, they are very reliable and sturdy.  The most popular brand names for RV water heaters are Suburban and Atwood.

  • Tankless Coil Water Heaters

Tankless coil water heaters do not utilize any storage tank for heating since the water is directly heated inside the boiler.  It is typically used for home’s space heating and the option of heating the water is just a plus.  Tankless coil water heater units are considered to be the most efficient heating appliances during the colder months when they are used for space heating; however, they are less efficient during the warmer months because the boiler is used less frequently.

  • Marine Water Heaters

Marine water heaters, as the name implies, are specifically made for sailors or boaters in order for them to still enjoy the comforts of having a warm or hot shower while at sea.  Also, these marine water heaters also help with a boater’s small jobs where hot water is needed.  When away from shore, the marine water heater runs off of the boat’s engine loop, without the need to use electricity.  Popular manufacturers of marine water heater units include Atwood, Webasto, Isotemp, Torrid, etc.

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