Selecting a new water heater for your home can be a daunting task if you aren't equipped with the right knowledge.
What is the best selection for my living habits?
Which type is the most efficient?
Which will last the longest time, or provide the best return on investment?
In this article we are going to remove the mystery from water heater shopping, covering the defining features, benefits, and disadvantages of three common water heater types: indirect fired water heaters, tankless water heaters, and solar hybrid water heaters.
By the end of this article, you should have a much clearer picture of which type to choose for your home.
Tankless Water Heaters
Tankless water heaters, or inline water heaters, are often surrounded by so many marketing buzzwords and sales vernacular that it can be hard to gather basic information about their functionality. Let's break it down to the basics: what is a tankless water heater? The principle behind it is fairly simple: Instead of heating hot water in a holding tank to be used at a later time, tankless water heaters heat the water on the way to its destination. The benefits of this method to heat domestic hot water are many. The water heater has a much smaller footprint and can often be mounted on a wall. The tankless nature of the heater means that your home's supply of hot water is effectively limitless - running out of hot water is a thing of the past. Efficiency levels are higher than many tank-based water heaters, as well, because no energy is needed to keep the pre-heated water warm inside of the tank. On the flip side of the coin, instant hot water is not always possible. Because the heater only heats water on demand, it must first raise the temperature in the heater to an appropriate level before the supplied water’s temperature is acceptable. You may have to wait a few seconds (or sometimes minutes) in the morning for your shower to become warm, but many consider this to be an acceptable trade-off for the benefits a tankless water heater
Learn More About Tankless Water Heaters
Indirect Fired Water Heater
Indirect fired water heaters are an excellent solution to home hot water heating if you are installing a hydronic heating system or already have one in place. This water heater is a large tank containing an internal heating coil that connects directly to your boiler's water line, using the heat generated by your boiler to heat the water inside the tank. The efficiency of these water heaters, while influenced by factors such as insulation quality and thickness, are mainly correlated with the efficiency of the boiler powering the hydronic heating system. If you have invested in a high efficiency boiler for your home, indirect fired water heaters
can be an incredibly efficient domestic hot water option. On the flip side, if your home's boiler is comparatively inefficient or needs replacement, another type of water heater may be a better option. They are among the easiest types of water heater to install, as they don't require access to a source of electricity or gas (this can often lead to reduced installation costs from your contractor).
Learn More About Indirect Water Heaters
Solar Hybrid Water Heater
Solar hybrid water heaters share many features in common with indirect fired water heaters. They are similarly easy to install as they require no power or fuel, but are different in that they contain two internal coils instead of one. One coil is typically connected to a hydronic boiler's heat line, with the other coil being connected to a solar collector. Combined with a high efficiency boiler, these types of water heaters can raise a home's efficiency to unbelievably high levels. Finding a balance between heat provided by your hydronic heating system and the solar collector can be tricky - the installation of a solar water heater should be performed by a contractor qualified in solar energy.
There are other types of water heaters besides the three covered in this article, but these three types are among the most common. Most importantly, all three are viable, efficient water heaters that will reliably supply your home with hot water for years to come. For more information about any of these three types of water heaters, or for help deciding which is right for your application, please call us or drop us a line.
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