Water heaters are often overlooked, but they’re one of the most important pieces of in-home technology you own. The right water heater can keep your baths and showers comfortable, your dishes clean, and your clothes washed — all at a temperature that works best for the soaps you’re using. The wrong water heater could lead to lukewarm baths or icy cold showers when you least expect it.
Heating water accounts for up to 20 percent of the average home's energy budget. Some gas-fired tankless water heaters claim to cut energy costs by up to half over regular storage heaters. But their added up-front costs mean it pays to look before you leap. Compare the types of water heaters.
Types of Water Heaters:
Most of these are essentially steel cylinders fed by a cold-water inlet pipe (the dip tube) that protrudes into the tank (this line includes the shutoff valve). Water is heated in the tank, and hot water exits through a hot-water pipe atop the tank. Another pipe that emerges from the tank includes the temperature and pressure-relief valve, which opens if either exceeds a preset level. You'll also find a drain valve near the tank bottom and a control unit outside for setting temperatures and, on gas models, controlling the pilot-light valve.
Gas is the fuel of choice if you already have natural gas service or can run a gas line to your home economically. Gas models cost more than electrics. But on the basis of national-average fuel costs, a gas water heater will cost you about half as much to run as a comparable electric model. Thus, a gas heater might amortize the up-front difference in cost in as little as a year.
Tankless models (a.k.a. instantaneous water heaters) are suitcase-sized units that heat water only when needed by using natural gas to heat water passing through a heat exchanger inside. They eliminate the risk of tank failure and the energy lost by constantly reheating water, though their heat exchanger can clog or fail. Endless hot water, additional storage space, and lower energy bills are just a few reasons homeowners are switching to tankless water heaters.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates gas-fired tankless heaters save an average of $108 in energy costs per year over their traditional tank counterparts, while electric tankless heaters save $44 per year.
They do cost quite a bit more to purchase and install, typically costing about 2.5 times that of a standard 50-gallon gas water heater. It’s important to consider need and usage of your household’s hot water. There are circumstances where a tankless water heater would be of great benefit for a busy household.
Call Covenant Plumbing for all of your water heater needs, including water heater installation, maintenance and repair.