Selecting the Right Water Heater

In the Phoenix area, there are many different factors that play into selecting the right water heater for you. When someone’s water heater goes out unexpectedly, they want a new water heater quickly. Usually, they are in too much of a rush to take the time to shop around to look at all the different water heater options available. This is unfortunate as there are quite a few water heater options on the market these days.

Types of Water Heaters

Condensing water heater

These water heaters are best explained when comparing them to a conventional water heater even though their only similarity is the storage tank. They don’t throw away the hot exhaust and energy like a convectional heater instead they push the exhaust through a coil at the bottom of the tank. This coil sends the hot exhaust around the incoming cold water which saves almost all the standby heat loss. So this heater improves efficiency by using the heat that would typically be lost. Selecting this water heater is usually about efficiency but the cost needs to be added in as well. Since these water heaters are very efficient, their cost is high, though recently their price has been dropping. These water heaters are the most energy-efficient gas water heaters that are available and can save the homeowner a lot of money in the long run. Also, the recovery rate is so exceptional that it is almost impossible for you to run out of hot water.

Storage water heaters

These water heaters are still the most popular water heater in the market today even with all the newer types. Tank-style water heaters have storage tanks that are constantly being heated which can waste a lot of energy. Some storage water heaters have better-insulated tanks, which can greatly reduce the amount of heat lost, therefore saving energy and costs. Water heaters with more insulation tend to be wider and do not always fit into the existing space where the existing water heater is located. Because these water heaters have internal storage tanks that hold the water, they are sized depending on the gallon capacity of the storage tank. These tanks range from 20-to 100 gallons and can produce anywhere from 35 gallons per hour to 75 gallons of hot water per hour. How select the right water heater and right size tank will usually depend on the size of the household. A larger household with more occupants and bathrooms would most likely want a larger tank so there isn’t a long wait for more hot water. Storage water heaters can run on natural gas, propane, fuel oil, and electricity. Any storage-tank water heater that uses gas or fuel will require a flue vent to carry the carbon monoxide in the exhaust to the exterior of the home.

Tankless water heaters or demand heaters

This type of water heater heats water only when needed; therefore, they don’t waste as much energy as storage tank water heaters. These water heaters provide hot water at a rate of 2 to 10 gallons per minute. Tankless water heaters are great if there is not a high demand for hot water all at once. A tankless water heater can provide hours of hot water, but since it heats water as it travels through the unit, it can only heat a certain amount at a time. For example, if you have three or four appliances using hot water at the same time, a tankless water heater will struggle to keep up with that demand and you may only get lukewarm water everywhere. However, if you need to fill a large Jacuzzi tub and water isn’t being used in more than one or two locations at the same time, a tankless is great and you will not run out of hot water as you fill the tub. For the people that want an on-demand tankless water heater but constantly have hot water on in many locations at a time, they may want to get more than one tankless water heater for different locations. Tankless water heaters are much smaller than storage tank water heaters and fit almost anywhere. This is a huge benefit if there isn’t much space to spare. If the water isn’t going to be constantly on, this type of heater can be around 30% more efficient than a storage-tank heater. The initial cost of a tankless heater is higher than a storage water heater, but these heaters have a longer life and will typically have lower energy costs over their lifetime. We do not recommend buying a tankless water heater to save money, as this may or may not happen, but we do recommend a tankless water heater if you frequently run out of hot water and/or need more space.

Heat pump water heaters

These heaters do not use combustion or electrical resistance to heat water, which can be inefficient processes. This type of heater actually takes the heat from the surrounding air and puts it into the tank to heat the water. Many people have a gas connection just for their water heater but in this case, gas could be eliminated completely, which could be a welcome reduction in your gas bill. Heat pumps can be bought with a tank or be bought separately and added to a tank. A few cons of this type of heater are that they don’t work too well in cold spaces and work best if they are placed by heat-producing appliances such as a furnace. Due to this fact, they take a lot of space and can’t be placed in a closet. These heaters also have high initial costs and can only be installed in locations that stay between 40 and 90 degrees F year-round. However, these heaters are great if you live in a warm climate such as the Phoenix area because they have the lowest operating cost of any electric water heater.

Natural Gas Water Heaters

Natural gas is the primary fuel source for water heaters because of its cost-efficiency. While natural gas can also power tankless units, your typical natural gas water heater features a gas burner that continually heats the water in a storage tank. The burner heats water from the bottom of the tank, and since hot water is lighter than cold water, the hot water rises to the top, where a delivery pipe sends it to where it’s needed.

Propane Water Heaters

A propane water heater works like any other water heater. The difference is that it uses propane rather than natural gas as its fuel source. The utilized propane leaves the system through a vent at the top of the tank. Any exhaust or excess gas created during the burning process also leaves the system through this ventilation.

Electric Water Heaters

Electric water heaters work essentially the same way as their gas counterparts. However, they heat water using electric heating elements inside the tank. A thermostat monitors the water temperature, and once it reaches the set temperature, it shuts off the heating element. Electric water heaters run on electricity, so they must be completely wired.

Commercial Water Heaters

Commercial water heaters have several distinct features that make them more suitable for commercial applications than their residential counterparts. Unlike residential water heaters that typically work on an “on-demand” basis, commercial units allow for consistent running usage. These water heaters can handle the wear and tear of consistent use. And since commercial units get much hotter than residential water heaters, they have enhanced safety features.

Solar Water Heaters

Solar water heaters use the sun’s energy to heat water for your property. They typically consist of solar collectors and a storage tank. The solar collectors on your rooftop draw water from the sun to power your unit.

These high-efficiency appliances have gained popularity in the recent past because they lower your utility bill and allow you to heat water with clean energy.

Which Water Heater Is the Most Cost-Effective for Your House?

Before deciding on the most cost-effective water heater for your home, you need to do plenty of research and comparative analysis. A well-rounded understanding of the various options available in the market allows you to make the best and most informed decision.

How Much Water Does Your Household Use?

Large home with a high demand for hot water will require a larger tank-style water heater than a smaller household. When it comes to tankless units, the number to look for is the gallons-per-minute rating (GPM). The higher the GPM, the more hot water a tankless water heater can deliver.

Do You Have Space for a Large Water Heater?

Space availability matters. If you don’t have space for a large tank-style water heater, going tankless is the way to go. Tankless units heat water on demand and don’t need tanks.

Are There Many Hot Water Appliances in The House?

Calculate how much hot water you need at the peak hour and choose a unit that can deliver sufficient hot water to meet those demands.

Would They be Used at The Same Time?

If you have multiple water heater appliances that you are using simultaneously, you’ll need a water heater with a large storage capacity. Tankless units are often unsuitable for properties with a high demand for hot water all at once.

What Fuel Options Are Available in Your Area?

If you have more than one type of fuel in your area, it’s good to compare their costs. The fuel option you use for your water heating will affect the water heater’s operating costs and the unit’s size and energy efficiency.