Sooner or later most people will have to purchase a water heater. The purchase might be brought on because an old water heater ruptures or just wears out. You might be remodeling your house and need to swap out the old water heater to service the new layouts needs. Or you might find yourself in the market for a new water heater because you are building a new house.
Whatever the reason for shopping for one, buying a water heater can be confusing. Knowing some basic things about water heaters helps you make an educated decision that will serve your needs the best.
First of all, in the average household about twenty-five percent of the household energy consumption actually comes from the water heater. People naturally wonder whether gas or electric water heaters cost more to operate. The answer usually is gas water heaters, but it of course depends on the exact model. There are some areas where electric water heaters cost less to operate, like in California. Even if you live in a rural area where natural gas service is not available, propane water heaters typically cost less to operate. Of course, electric water heaters cost less to buy up-front, but in the long run the cost savings is annihilated by the operating expenses.
When it comes to output, gas water heaters win out again. The average residential electric water heater can produce about 15,000 BTUs in an hours time. On the other hand, the average gas water heater can produce about 32,000 BTUs in an hour. What does this mean? This means that the average gas water heater can completely heat a tank of cold water in over half the time it takes an electric water heater.
There are also solar water heaters that use the power of the sun to heat water. In some areas solar water heaters are extremely popular, like in Israel where every house is required by law to use a solar water heater. Even though they are expensive to purchase and install, a homeowner who installs a solar water heater can recover the cost within about four to as much as seven years. After that point the water heaters operation means pure savings on the cost of utilities normally associated with the operation of a water heater.
One of the hottest new trends in water heating is tankless systems. Tankless water heaters do not keep a large quantity of water heated up for use at any time. Instead, they quickly heat the water as it is needed. This means the water heater is not constantly reheating a big tank of water all the time, which is the case with a traditional water heater. Even though a tankless water heater can cost quite a bit to install, it consumes much less electricity or gas and so saves you money in the long run. That and you cannot run out of hot water with a tankless setup.
Finally there are heat pump systems, which are the newest water heating technology. Instead of generating heat the system literally pumps heat from other sources to the water, using electricity for the process. They are significantly more efficient than traditional electric water heaters. Like tankless systems, heat pumps cost quite a bit up front but end up saving you quite a bit in utilities over the long run.
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