For years, virtually every home in the Twin Cities had a typical 30- to 50-gallon water heater. Those water heaters stored hot water and kept it at a pre-determined temperature. The majority of those tank-type heaters lasted anywhere from ten to fifteen years and didn’t require a lot of care. While some repairs to thermostats, heating elements, or igniters were needed, most water heaters caused little trouble. However, times have changed, and there are new alternatives to consider if your current water heater is at or near the end of its life.
Is Upgrading to New Technology Worth the Money?
If the old, standard tank-type water heaters work and last for years, why should homeowners consider upgrading to a newer type of unit? Before exploring the advantages of newer systems, it’s important to better understand the old standard. Tank-type water heaters use gas, oil, or electricity to heat and store water until a resident needs it. That means the water is kept at a constant temperature 24-hours per day regardless of how much water a home’s residents actually use. That’s costly, and the cost of keeping the water hot isn’t going down. So, what are the alternatives?
Within the last few years, two new types of water heaters have appeared on the scene in the U.S. One option is to install a tank less or on-demand water heater. The other choice is a hybrid or heat pump water heater. Both of those options have advantages and disadvantages property owners should understand before choosing one. The experts at aquariushomeservices.com work with clients to ensure the best choice is made, but it’s important every homeowner understands a few basics. The water heater experts explain the options, as well as their costs, so property owners have the information required to make an educated decision.
Tankless or On-Demand Water Heaters
As the name implies, tankless water heaters don’t store water. Instead, water is heated on-demand. That means, when a resident turns on a hot water faucet, the unit will sense the flow and start heating water to the pre-set temperature. That water is then delivered to the user. The on-demand water heater will continue to heat water as long as the water is flowing. Once the user turns off the faucet, the heating system shuts off. That means the system’s power source is only used when a resident is actually using water. There is no tank full of water that needs to be kept hot all the time.
Tankless water heaters come in a variety of sizes, which means the home’s water use has to be carefully estimated before deciding which model to choose. If the water heater selected is too small, it won’t deliver the volume of hot water needed. Conversely, oversized on-demand water heaters cost more to purchase, which would negate some of the possible cost savings. An Aquarius Home Services expert will evaluate a home’s hot water needs and recommend a unit that meets the occupants’ needs without overspending.
So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of on-demand or tankless water heaters? The first is, as alluded to earlier, the lower cost of operation. Water heater experts estimate an average tankless water heater will use 25- to 50-percent less energy than a typical tank-type unit. Those savings can be pretty dramatic over the life of the water heater. However, there are also a couple of downsides to purchasing a tankless water heater.
Most importantly, tankless water heaters cost more initially than traditional water heaters. When converting from a traditional water heater to a tankless unit, some plumbing will also be required, which increases the initial cost. It may also be necessary to reroute electrical or gas lines. It’s a good idea to discuss the pros and cons of tankless water heaters with your technician to ensure the best option is selected.
Hybrid or Heat Pump Water Heaters
The newest water heater option to hit the U.S. market is the hybrid or heat pump water heater. Those water heaters work much the same as the heat pumps used to provide heat and air conditioning to homes. While those heating and cooling systems aren’t as common in the Twin Cities as they are in warmer parts of the country, most people have at least a passing acquaintance with them. Essentially, heat pumps move heat from one place to another rather than generating it. That simply means a hybrid water heater takes heat from the air surrounding the unit and uses it to heat the water stored in a tank. The process is far more efficient than keeping the tank of water heated using only an electric element or gas burner.
If the hybrid or heat pump water heater can’t keep up with demand at a given point, the water heater will use an auxiliary power source to heat the water needed. That means when everyone is getting ready to leave the home in the morning, the extra hot water needed can still be supplied. Again, the power savings over the life of a hybrid water heater can be significant.
On the downside, as with tankless water heaters, the units cost significantly more to purchase than standard, tank-type water heaters. Again, the technician will work with a client to explain both short- and long-term costs to determine if upgrading to a hybrid water heater is a good idea. Another disadvantage of hybrid water heaters is that they need a lot of room. They can’t be installed in a tight closet. Discuss possible locations with the technician.
Take the First Steps When replacing a water heater, the first step is to contact the experts for assistance. The technician works with customers to evaluate a home’s hot water needs and determine which water heater option presents the best short- and long-term value for the homeowners. From that point, installation can be scheduled so the hot water supply for a home is guaranteed for years to come. To get started, contact the team at Aquarius Home Services today.