Tank-type water heaters are little more than giant insulated water bottles with heating elements inside. Conventional storage (tank-type) water heaters remain the most popular type of water heating system for the home. A single-family storage water heater offers a ready reservoir-from 20 to 80 gallons-of hot water. It operates by releasing hot water from the top of the tank when you turn on the hot water tap. To replace that hot water, cold water enters the bottom of the tank, ensuring that the tank is always full.
Conventional storage water heater fuel sources include natural gas, propane, fuel oil, and electricity. Natural gas and propane water heaters basically operate the same. A gas burner under the tank heats the water. A thermostat opens the gas valve as the water temperature falls. The valve closes when the temperature rises to the thermostat's set point. Oil-fired water heaters operate similarly, but they have power burners that mix oil and air in a vaporizing mist, ignited by an electric spark. Electric water heaters have one or two electric elements, each with its own thermostat. With two electric elements, a standby element at the bottom of the tank maintains the minimum thermostat setting while the upper demand element provides hot water recovery when demand heightens.
Because water is constantly heated in the tank, energy can be wasted even when a hot water tap isn't running. Only tankless water heaters avoid standby heat losses. However, you can find some storage water heater models with heavily insulated tanks, which significantly reduce standby heat losses, lowering annual operating costs. Look for models with tanks that have a thermal resistance (R-Value) of R-12 to R-25.
Gas and oil water heaters also have venting-related energy losses. Two types of water heaters-a fan-assisted gas water heater and an atmospheric sealed-combustion water heater-reduce these losses. The fan-assisted gas water heater uses a draft-induced fan that regulates the air that passes through the burner, which minimizes the amount of excess air during combustion, increasing efficiency. The atmospheric sealed-combustion water heater uses a combustion and venting system that is totally sealed from the house.
The lowest-priced storage water heater may be the most expensive to operate and maintain over its lifetime. While an oversized unit may be alluring, it carries a higher purchase price and increased energy costs due to higher standby energy losses. Before buying a new storage water heater, you need to consider the following: size, fuel type and availability, energy efficiency and cost.
Proper installation and maintenance of your water heater can optimize its energy efficiency. Proper installation depends on many factors. These factors include fuel type, climate, local building code requirements, and safety issues, especially concerning the combustion of gas- and oil-fired water heaters. Therefore, it's best to have a qualified plumbing and heating contractor install your storage water heater.
Periodic water heater maintenance can significantly extend your water heater's life and minimize loss of efficiency.
Henrik Plumbing offers the following services for the storage water heaters:
- Installation of residential and commercial water heaters according to the local building code
- Relocation of existing water heaters
- Troubleshooting and periodic maintenance
- Emergency service
Tankless or Instantaneous Water Heaters
Tankless or instantaneous water heaters provide hot water only as it is needed. They don't produce the standby energy losses associated with storage water heaters, which can save you money.
Tankless water heaters heat water directly without the use of a storage tank. Therefore, they avoid the standby heat losses associated with storage water heaters. When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit. Either a gas burner or an electric element heats the water. As a result, demand water heaters deliver a constant supply of hot water. You don't need to wait for a storage tank to fill up with enough hot water. However, a demand water heater's output limits the flow rate.
Typically, demand water heaters provide hot water at a rate of 2-5 gallons (7.6-15.2 liters) per minute. Gas-fired demand water heaters produce higher flow rates than electric ones. Sometimes, however, even the largest, gas-fired model cannot supply enough hot water for simultaneous, multiple uses in large households. For example, taking a shower and running the dishwasher at the same time can stretch a demand water heater to its limit. To overcome this problem, you can install two or more demand water heaters, connected in parallel for simultaneous demands of hot water. You can also install separate demand water heaters for appliances-such as a clothes washer or dishwater-that use a lot of hot water in your home.
Although gas-fired demand water heaters tend to have higher flow rates than electric ones, they can waste energy if they have a constantly burning pilot light. This can sometimes offset the elimination of standby energy losses when compared to a storage water heater. In a gas-fired storage water heater, the pilot light heats the water in the tank so the energy isn't wasted.
For homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily, demand water heaters can be 24%-34% more energy efficient than conventional storage tank water heaters.
Demand water heaters cost more than conventional storage water heaters. However, you may find that a demand water heater may have lower operating and energy costs, which could offset its higher purchase price.
Before buying a demand water heater, you also need to consider the following: size, fuel type and availability, energy efficiency(energy factor) and estimate costs.
Proper installation and maintenance of your demand water heater can optimize its energy efficiency. Proper installation depends on many factors. These factors include fuel type, climate, local building code requirements, and safety issues, especially concerning the combustion of gas-fired water heaters. Therefore, it's best to have a qualified plumbing and heating contractor install your demand water heater.
WATER HEATER INSTALLATION
Water heating is a thermodynamic process using an energy source to heat water above its initial temperature. Typical domestic uses of hot water are for cooking, cleaning, bathing, and space heating.
One of the most common household plumbing projects is replacing a water heater. For many homeowners, replacing an old water heater is simpler than they imagine, especially if the new unit is similar to the old one. If you want to switch from electric to gas or vice versa, however, discussing your options with professionals is the best way out of it. Maybe your long, hot shower isn't as long-or as hot-as it used to be or maybe your family has expanded and you're taking more baths and washing more clothes than ever before. Many potential dangers can result from improper water heater installation.
The water heater gets quite a workout in most homes. Based on manufacturer's suggested service life, the life expectancy of a water heater is about 8 to 12 years. That, of course, will vary with the severity of local weather, the unit design, quality of installation and the level of maintenance your unit has received. Water heaters that are more than 10 years old, have leaks around the base of the tank, and/or works erratically or not at all, it probably needs to be replaced.
Henrik Plumbing offers the following services for the tankless water heaters:
- Installation of residential and commercial tankless water heaters according to the local
building code requirements
- Relocation of existing tankless water heaters
- Installation of new gas piping for tankless water heater
- Troubleshooting and periodic maintenance
- Emergency service
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