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Getting Know to Water Heaters

Posted on: September 20th, 2013 by admin

It is important to choose the right water heater for your home, one which would provide you with ample hot water whenever you need it and do so with maximum energy efficiency. The chief function of the water heater is to increase the temperature of the incoming cold water from the municipal source. The hot water is then stored in the tank and evenly distributed for use in various portions of the household through kitchens and bathrooms. Choosing the right water heater would mean checking and determining the size, make, fuel source, comparing prices as well as maintenance required for each type.

Types of water heaters

Storage tank water heaters: These are the most common types of water heaters used in American homes. The water is heated and stored on the tank, ready for use whenever needed. It can operate in all kinds of heating source – oil, gas or electricity making it an easy addition to all kinds of homes. When the tap is turned on hot water gushes into the pipes and faucets through the top while cold water fills up the tank from within. Since the technology has been around for years it has proven its efficacy for providing steady and robust water heating solutions and also costs less than the modern technologies. Energy efficient models have extra tank insulation for better heat retention, better heat exchanger to transfer more heat and efficiently, presence of heat traps to prevent hot water wastage from the tank, powered exhaust and electric ignition in case it is fueled by gas and condensing heat exchangers.

Tankless Water Heaters: As the name suggests, these water heaters do not store water in a tank. Instead they provide instant source of energy whenever you need hot water for which they have been nicknamed instantaneous water heaters or on demand water heaters. The basic units include either a gas burner which is surrounded by flowing water or an electric heater. Because they don’t store the hot water there is zero loss of heat through the pipes and the walls of the tank. Typically, a single tankless water heater is not capable of supplying hot water to the entire house. They are usually installed in specific portions of the house to serve definite functions near the point of use like the shower or the kitchen sink. They are often used as supplementary heaters to the existing system to boost the hot water flow, especially during cold weather.

Solar Water Heaters: One of the best examples of renewable energy applications are solar water heaters. Using the sun’s energy to heat water, these heaters pump the water into storage tanks from the collectors. While the initial installation is costly, use of free solar energy leads to long term benefits like low water heating costs and definite contribution to saving the planet. It is estimated that in areas where there is plenty of sunshine, solar water heaters can easily generate 50% of the household hot water needs. In colder climes, the collectors usually hold antifreeze fluid which is passed through heat exchangers to supply hot water for various household needs.

Integrated Space/Water Heating Systems: These are extremely efficient systems which integrate all household needs and offer hot water for all kinds of use. They are easy to install and offer a bundle in savings since one does not have install separate systems for separate heating requirements. Typically the system includes a single boiler, one combustion burner with one vent which passes on the heat through a fan coil and blows it into the house. In most models there is an insulated external storage tank which is equipped with the high-efficiency low-mass boiler to generate heat. The distribution of the warm air through the house is similar to that of a conventional furnace.

Heat Pump Water Heaters: The HPWH or heat pump water heater (HPWH) technology takes heat from the surrounding atmosphere and transfers it to the stored water in the tank. To transfer this heat the heater uses electricity instead of generating direct heat. The model is typically that of a conventional electric storage heat that is combined with heat pump to supply the requisite hot water.

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