You probably never think about your water heater until there’s a problem with it. Maybe your hot water doesn’t last as long as it once did, or perhaps only cold water comes out of the faucet when you try to take a hot bath. The water in your pipes would stay cool all year-round if not for your water heater. Without it, you wouldn’t have hot water for baths, dishwashers or washing machines. Though the average water heater lasts about 15 years, small problems can go unnoticed over time and lead to unfortunate situations later on.
How Water Heaters Work
Although water heaters come in many different types and sizes, they all provide the same functionality. The insulated tank in your home might differ from your neighbor’s tankless water heater, but its primary task is to heat the water for your shower and appliances. If you’re looking to replace your current water heater, it’s important to learn about the various units available and how they function.
Storage Water Heaters
A storage water heater does what its name implies: It stores heated water. Depending on its size, it can hold up to 80 gallons of hot water at a time and is powered by natural gas, electricity or another fuel source. Storage water heaters operate 24/7 and keep the water in the tank heated at the appropriate temperature. If the water temperature drops below the preset level, the burner at the bottom of the tank kicks in and heats the water back up.
Electric-powered Heat Pump Water Heaters
An electric water heater obviously uses electricity to heat the water, but it draws air from around the unit to perform the task. It intensifies the heat and transfers it to the water inside the tank. Because it functions using the surrounding air, this type of water heater works best in warm climates where it can work more efficiently.
Tankless Water Heaters
A tankless water heater lacks the storage tank of conventional models. Instead of storing heated water for later use, it heats up the water as it’s needed, thereby using less power and saving you money. Unfortunately, it can’t provide hot water for a bath and the dishwasher at the same time. You can install multiple units to handle different tasks, but they may come at a higher cost.
Solar Water Heaters
Solar water heaters come in two types: active and passive. Some active water heaters use a pump to distribute the water and store it in a tank. Other active heaters circulate the water through a heat exchanger, which keeps the water hot even in cold climates. Integral passive units heat the water using solar collectors in the storage tank. Thermosiphon passive units cause the hot water to rise from the tank and disperse through the pipes.
Which Water Heater Should You Choose?
Though most homes have conventional storage water heaters, some homeowners have made the switch to tankless units. Selecting the right water heater comes down to the size of your home and your hot water needs. You may also want a unit that reduces your energy costs and saves you money. Contact Rapid Repair Experts for more information about how to get started. Whether you need water heater repair or a new unit installed, we can get your hot water flowing again.