Considerations When Choosing a Water Heater
When choosing a water heater for your home, you may want to consider the number of appliances you have, size of the household, environmental concerns, and economic factors before making a decision. The best choice can depend on a number of different factors, and with a range of products on thePosted — Updated
When choosing a water heater for your home, you may want to consider the number of appliances you have, size of the household, environmental concerns, and economic factors before making a decision. The best choice can depend on a number of different factors, and with a range of products on the market, you should be able to find the perfect water heater for your needs.
Water heaters can be broadly broken down into flash or on demand heaters and tank heaters which use a variety of techniques to actually heat the water. Flash heaters only warm water when you need it, working rapidly to bring it up to temperature. Tank heaters heat water in a storage tank and periodically turn on to reheat it, ensuring there is a reserve of hot water available. As it is depleted and new water pours in, the heating element turns back on to bring cool water up to temperature.
Because on demand water heaters only heat water when needed, they don't waste energy keeping a tank warm when no one's using it, and they work very quickly and efficiently, so you shouldn't notice an interruption in hot water supply as long as your heater is appropriately sized. For example, someone could take a shower while another member of the household runs a dishwasher or does a load of laundry.
They also have a lower profile, which can be useful in a structure with limited space for appliances. It's important to make sure the heater has enough room for safety clearances to reduce the risk of fire or water damage, but it should fit under a sink or counter if necessary, unlike a large tank, which requires far more surface area and vertical space.
The disadvantage to flash heaters is that they tend to have a higher up-front cost. Sometimes it's possible to get a rebate or qualify for cash assistance if you can demonstrate that you are making your home more efficient with a flash heater, but otherwise, you may need to budget ahead for the higher price.
The one distinct advantage to having a tank heater is that the water can stay warm during a power outage. Flash heaters may not be able to function when the electricity is off because the thermostat is often electric, rendering even gas elements useless. On the other hand, a well-insulated tank may stay warm for a few hours or a full day, so in a household on pressurized water lines that flow when the power is out, people will have some warm water for dishes and other tasks.