Tips on Choosing the Ideal Water Heater

Tips on Choosing the Ideal Water Heater
March 22, 2012 Lorelie

If you are searching for a water heating unit that is ideal for both you and your family, you will be surprised to find that there are many things to look for or consider before you are able to find the most suitable and most ideal unit.  One of the first things you need to consider is an assessment of your home as well as your family’s whole hot water usage.  Most of the time, you can make a rough estimate on the size of water heater you need just by looking at your monthly water bill and checking how much water your whole household use every month.  In addition to this, you must also keep track of how many household appliances you have that use heated water along with how often they are used.  Since there are quite a number of types, sizes, and shapes of water heaters, it is really quite daunting in choosing the ideal water heater for you.  Probably the best way to learn on which unit is more suitable for you is by consulting an expert on water heaters.

These days, there are many types of water heating models available in the market.  Many of them make use of different heating elements and setups to facilitate the heating of water.  The most popular type of water heating system is perhaps the electric water heater as it is the most affordable type.  Despite not being on the high end of technology when it comes to water heating and energy saving, the electric water heating system is still very popular because it is very robust and works like it should.  Gas and propane water heaters on the other hand are on the bit more expensive side.  Then again, they also use only use cheap energy resources thus providing savings on monthly utility bills.

A factor that can create a big difference on both the durability and efficiency of the unit would be the type of system utilized for the heating element.  The traditional storage tank water heaters are slowly being superseded by better and more efficient tankless water heating systems. These tankless water heating systems do not occupy a lot of space when installed since they don’t have any storage tank.  In addition, they also do not waste energy due to the constant heating-up of the water inside the tank just to maintain the preset water temperature as they only start to heat up the water when hot water is desired.  Heat pumps water heating systems are also becoming popular with homeowners.  They take heat from the environment and use it to heat the water – a clever yet effective strategy, one that can provide homeowners lots of savings in terms of energy and utility bills.  For people who are residing in warm or hot regions, a solar water heating system might just be the perfect unit for them.  Since it uses the heat of the sun, which is free, to heat the water, the homeowners do not have to pay any energy usage consumed by the water heater.  The only downside to this free energy is that the unit and installation costs more than common water heating systems.  Then again, the unit will be able to pay for itself since you will be enjoying years of free heated water.

One thing that is unavoidable with water heating systems is that one way or other problems will occur.  It is common knowledge that different problems will require different ways of solving them.  This makes it very important to have at least some general knowledge on how you can solve or avert such problems.

When water is heated, the calcium carbonate present in the water will precipitate and settle to the bottom.  Each time this happens, sediments collect inside the storage tank and eventually build up.  In addition to this, any particles present in the water may also settle inside the tank and add to the buildup.  Although the sediment buildup happens very slowly, it will eventually collect to a point where there is excessive sediment buildup inside the tank.  Also, in some areas that have water categorized to be very hard, the likelihood of that storage tank filling up with sediments will happen in just a short time.  Once the water heater has lots of sediment inside it, the water flow will be affected as well as the heating.  The most recommended solution and prevention for any sediment buildup would be flushing the tank regularly.

Another common issue with storage tank water heaters, be it gas-fired or electric, is that they run out of hot water quickly or that they only provide warm water.  This issue is likely caused by a broken dip tube, a small plastic tube that allows cool water to flow at the bottom of the storage tank.  Should the dip tube be broken, the cold water coming in will blend with the already heated water which will result in you getting only warm water.  This issue can be easily fixed by replacing the dip tube.  However, if the problem is not with the dip tube and it is in fact with the thermostat, you may need to prepare to spend more on having the thermostat repaired or replaced.

Pressure buildup is a common but major problem with traditional storage tank water heaters.  Water expands when it is heated which is why every storage water heater has a pressure reducing valve or a check valve.  This device of the water heating unit enables the pressure to be released thus preventing any pressure buildup.  In the event the valve is blocked, the pressure will definitely spike.  If the pressure is left unchecked, the immense buildup of pressure inside the tank may reach a level that the tank will fail and burst.  In order to prevent this, you need to control this pressure.  This can be accomplished by using a thermal expansion tank or by having a temperature pressure valve installed on the inlet line.  This setup will enable the release of any elevated pressures without any problems.  The temperature pressure valve is actually sensitive enough to detect any buildup in pressure.  If you do have this device installed in you water heating unit, you’ll need to have it checked and replaced occasionally as its average lifespan is up to 2 years.

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