Water Heater Types

Hybrid Electric Heat-Pump Water Heaters

Electric Hybrid Heat Pump

Electric Hybrid Heat Pump

Hybrid heat-pump water heaters work by pulling heat out of the surrounding air and pumping it into the storage tank. So if you live in a warm climate, like we do, and install it in your hot attic or garage, the heat pump alone can save you money. The conventional heating coils come on only when the heat pump can no longer satisfy the demand.

Pros:

  • An electric hybrid heat pump has the lowest operating cost of any electric water heater on the market, when installed in warm climates. They may also qualify for rebates and tax incentives.

Cons:

  • Hybrids cost much more than a conventional electric heater.
  • The heat pump is taller (and wider in some cases) than your existing electric heater. Make sure the unit will fit.
  • Some heaters are “side-piped” to eliminate the possibility of heat pump damage caused by leaking pipes. On those models, you’ll have to reconfigure the water pipes.
  • You have to clean the air filter regularly to maintain operating efficiency.
  • The heater needs at least 1,000 cu. ft. of air surrounding it.

What to look for:

EF rating of 2.0 and the highest “first-hour rating.”

Is it for you?

If you heat water with electricity, an electric hybrid heat pump will save you the most money over a conventional heater. The higher your electric rates and the warmer the year-round climate, the faster the payback. In many cases, the payback can be as little as four years.

Point-of-use water heater

Point-of-use water heater

A point-of-use (POU) heater can’t replace your main water heater. But it can cut your water bill by eliminating the waste that occurs while you’re waiting for hot water to arrive at the tap. The heater (which is about the size of a cigar box) installs under the sink and connects between the cold water valve and the hot water faucet.

Pros:

  • A point-of-use heater reduces water waste and dramatically shortens the wait for hot water.
  • It boosts the efficiency of your main water heater, eliminating frequent cycling from faucets.

Cons:

  • A point-of-use heater adds cost to your water heater project.
  • It requires a new 220-volt or 110-volt high-amperage circuit.

What to look for:

The highest EF and best flow rate based on winter water temperatures.

Is it for you?

If you have long runs from the water heater to kitchen and bath faucets, a POU heater is the best solution. A point-of-use heater offers about a three-year payback based on water savings alone.

Conventional Gas Water Heaters

Conventional gas water heater

Conventional gas water heater

Conventional water heaters have improved in recent years. They now have thicker insulation, motorized dampers to reduce heat loss, and an EF of at least .67.

Pros:

  • Lowest upfront cost.
  • Easiest to install.
  • No fans or pumps to burn out.

Cons:

  • Less efficient; more expensive to run.

Is it for you?

If you need an immediate replacement, you don’t plan to stay in your home for years or you just don’t use a lot of hot water, a conventional unit may be your most cost effective option.

Cutaway of Condensing Gas Water Heater

Cutaway of Condensing Gas Water Heater

Like conventional heaters, condensing gas heaters have a tank. But that’s where the similarity ends. Instead of sending hot exhaust gases out the flue, which wastes energy, this heater blows them through a coil at the bottom of the tank. Incoming cold water flows around the coil and collects most of the heat. That’s why condensing gas water heaters are so efficient (up to 96 percent thermal efficiency). Even though it’s a storage tank design with “standby loss,” the increased efficiency more than offsets that loss.

Pros:

  • A condensing gas heater is the most energy-efficient, gas-fired tank-style water heater on the market.
  • “First-hour” recovery rate is incredible—you’ll never run out of hot water.

Cons:

  • A condensing heater costs two to three times more than conventional.
  • It requires gas line and venting reconfiguration.

What to look for:

Shop for a heater with a thermal efficiency of at least 90 percent.

Is it for you?

If you’re replacing an existing gas water heater and need lots of hot water for long or multiple showers and tub fills, and want a high flow rate in summer and winter, this may be the way to go. It requires the least amount of re-piping and has a faster payback.

Tankless Water Heater

Tankless Water Heater

Instead of keeping 40 or 50 gallons of hot water on call 24 hours a day—which wastes energy—a tankless unit heats water only when you need it. A flow sensor detects when you open the faucet. Then the gas valve opens and the burners fire up. The heater measures the incoming water temperature and calculates how quickly the water should flow past the burners. So, if the incoming water is 65 degrees F (typical summer temperature), the heater will provide its maximum flow rate. But if the water is only 35 degrees, the heater will throttle back the flow rate by almost 50 percent.

Pros:

  • Nothing beats a tankless heater for putting out lots of hot water—it never runs out.
  • A tankless heater saves about 30 to 50 percent in energy costs over a conventional gas heater (minimum EF of .82 vs. .54 for conventional).
  • A tankless heater is small and hangs on the wall, freeing up floor space.

Cons:

  • With tankless heaters, there’s a lag time of three to eight seconds to fire up the burners and heat the water to the set temperature.
  • Installation can be a major project.
  • Tankless heaters must be flushed annually with special chemicals to remove scale and maintain energy efficiency.

What to look for:

Shop for one with the highest EF and the best flow rate.

Is it for you?

If you want an endless supply of hot water for long showers or to fill a gazillion-gallon spa, this heater’s for you. Just be aware that you may not be able to run several showers at the same time in winter.

Solar Water Heater

Solar Water Heater

Like many high-performance products, Solar Water Heaters require a bit more investment upfront, but you reap the savings over the lifetime of the unit.

Pros:

  • Use the free energy of the sun to heat your water
  • Lower monthly electric (or gas) utility bills
  • Great for climates that receive a lot of sunshine, like Texas
  • Federal tax credits help lower upfront cost, and there are often local incentives that also help offset part of the initial investment

Cons:

  • Tank takes up more space than tankless units, but comparable to (or slightly larger than) “normal” tank type units
  • Higher up front cost for equipment & installation
  • Tank can produce a significant amount of heat, so its location will need to be planned accordingly
  • More equipment = more maintenance

Phone: 214-271-7242

E-mail: info@allaboutwaterheaters.biz

Hours:
Monday – Friday 8:30 – 4:30
Saturday 12-4
Sunday Closed

After hours add $112

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