Many of us are used to having hot water at our disposal and don’t really consider it a luxury. We don’t have to rely on anyone for the hot water supply: we conjure it ourselves with the help of water heaters! And with heating technologies constantly evolving, we now have quite a selection of water heating methods to choose from.
At Chesapeake Plumbing, we know from extensive experience that the most common variety of water heaters is the storage tank water heater. It heats cold water and stores it in a big tank to have it ready whenever you turn on the faucet. It is extremely popular and has many benefits:
– This technology has been around for years and has proven effective in keeping up with household’s hot water demand.
– Tank water heaters are much cheaper than their tankless counterparts. This includes low replacement and installation costs.
– When your water heater’s capacity matches your household size and hot water needs, you shouldn’t experience any problems with hot water supply.
If you have a smaller family and/or travel frequently, consider that:
– The general concept of applying energy to heat the water when it’s not being used is not the most eco-friendly way. However, many modern tank water heaters now qualify for Energy Star certification, which makes them more energy efficient.
– There is a risk of stand-by heat loss, which leads to higher energy use.
– When you use up all hot water from the tank, it gets filled with cold water that might take some time (up to 20 min.) to warm up to a desired temperature.
The second type of water heaters is a tankless water heater, also called “instant” or “on-demand” water heater. Just like its name suggests, it heats water only when you need it thus eliminating stand-by heat loss and associated high energy use. However, don’t be misled by the word “instant:” you will still have to wait till hot water travels through the piping into your faucet. Tankless water heaters are more energy efficient, however, as with all heaters, they do have their limitations. On average, tankless water heater runs 5 gallons of water per minute (5 GPM), while most homes have a demand of 6 to 12 GPM. Therefore, some installations may require additional modifications.
Finally, there is a combination of the two water heater types called a low-mass water heater. It is basically a tankless heater attached to an external storage tank, which gives you the best of both worlds. This technology allows oversized houses or homes with multifunctional shower faucets to produce enough hot water to supply the home’s plumbing fixtures and still take advantage of the energy cost savings of the tankless heater meeting the majority of the home’s heating needs.
Your choice of water heater will largely depend on your household size and water use habits. If you do a lot of laundry, prefer longer showers and nice water pressure, then storage tank water heater is the way to go. If you are concerned about environment and energy use, you can opt in for a tankless heater.
We have performed hundreds of Maryland water heater installations, and will be happy to help you choose the system that meets your needs and fits your budget.