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There are different ways to provide water heating in the typical home or business. Let’s discuss some of these options and their pros and cons.
There are two keys types of a hot water heater. They are a tank type and a tankless type. Let’s review these two kinds in further detail.
A tank water heater is the kind most commonly used in the US. With this design, water is heated by an electric or gas heating element and then stored in a tank which can be 40 or more gallons in size. The advantage is that hot water is available in plentiful supply as needed.
However if the water is not used regularly, it can cool off. The water heater detects this and then turns of the heating element to get the stored water back up to the desired temperature. The problem with this type of system is that it can use up more energy in the long run since it may have to heat back up the same water several times in order to have sufficient hot water available when necessary.
This type of water heating system also tends to take a while to heat up a quantity of hot water. So a common problem is if your storage tank is on the small side in terms of capacity, you may run out of hot water. The system would then have to replenish the tank which could take a while.
So if you have a larger family or use lots of hot water, you will typically need to have a hot water system which has a larger storage tank. This can raise the operating cost to keep this stored water hot as necessary.
Another key type of hot water heater is a tankless design. This type of hot water heater is able to heat the water on a continuous basis as necessary. It is able to heat the water very quickly. Since the water is heated only as used, there is little need for a storage tank.
So this type of water heater can save money since the energy is only used to heat up the water once when it is used. However keep in mind that if your hot water needs are extensive, it may not be able to provide hot water as quickly and extensively as you might like.
It is therefore important to determine your hot water needs so you can end up with the best possible solution. Some homeowners or business owners use a tankless unit in several locations. These multiple units can work out well since the hot water load is spread over several units. Since the energy is only used to heat the water when necessary the operating costs can still be quite effective.
However since more than one unit needs to be purchased, the upfront cost can be higher. It is therefore necessary to analyze this situation very closely and decide if the downstream operating costs can more than justify the higher upfront purchase costs.
It is advisable to work with a qualified home or commercial hot water heating professional to help you to find the best option for your needs. If you understand the different types and receive expert advice, you should be able to find the best option for your needs.
Related: water heating, hot water heater problems