Without hot water heaters, we would all have to heat water on the stoves to have hot baths; a tedious and time consuming chore, and not a very pleasant thought. Thankfully, in this day and age, there are appliances that provide us with readily available hot water with just the turn of a faucet.
After a trying day, a hot bath may be all that you need to wash the stress away. While many of us appreciate the feeling we get when we take a hot shower, most of us hardly ever think of how this luxury is provided.
Types of Hot Water Heaters
Most hot water heaters consist of a drum-shaped tank with a stand on the end but, there are tankless versions as well. The tanks hold a reservoir of hot water so that when the faucet is turned on, the hot water is available to meet your needs. Because of their large size and general aesthetic reasons, the heater’s tank is usually kept out of sight, in the laundry, basement, or a special cupboard.
There are three main types of hot water heaters:
- Electric Heaters: Electric heaters are powered by electricity and use a thermostat to help them maintain a comfortable temperature. If the water temperature happens to fall below the preset level, the electric current will raise it to the desired level. These tanks tend to be about 93% efficient; the highest among heater models. (See diagram above)
- Gas heaters: Gas heaters operate under similar principles as their electric counterparts. The main difference being that, as the name suggests, they utilize gas for energy. Their level of energy efficiency is largely dependent on their age and size. For instance, models made before 1990 tend to be anywhere from 45% 61% energy efficient. Newer models tend to be at least 62% energy efficient.
- Tankless water heaters: As the name suggests, these heaters work without the benefit of a water reservoir; instead they heat the water as needed. They are available in both electric and gas models and are typically about 82% energy efficient.
5 Little Known Facts About Hot Water Heaters
Hot water heaters are essential to your total home comfort. However, there is much that we don’t know about them. Take a look at the following 5 facts
- Approximately 25% of the energy is used in your home is used to heat your water. Because they use such a large amount of energy, it is important that you purchase a unit that is energy efficient.
- Most of your hot water usage comes from doing laundry and taking baths.
- The typical hot water heater with a tank lasts anywhere from 10 to 13 years.
- Tank water heaters should be drained and filled every 3 months so that they remain in optimum working condition.
- Tankless water heaters don’t provide instant hot water when the faucet is turned on.
The Bottom Line on Hot Water Heaters
The hot water heater is an essential appliance for every home. Regardless if you are buying your first water heater or your fourth, knowing the facts about water heaters will help you make an informed decision.