Things to Know Before Your Next Water Heater Installation
If you’re building a new home, updating an aging system, or your current water heater is broken, NW Solutions Heating & Air is certified to perform the installation for Vancouver homeowners. We’re an air conditioning contractor that knows all about how heating systems work, including how storage water heaters supply us with hot water 24-7!
Here is a basic guide to help you navigate the world of water heating. We want our customers to be comfortable and well-supplied with hot water as well as happy with their monthly utility bills.
A storage type, in contrast, holds several gallons of water in a reservoir; constantly refilling and reheating as the water is used.
Different ways we heat our water
The cold water that we use in our homes travels through a series of pipes before reaching sinks, showers, and washing machines. If we want that water to be a certain temperature, we simply adjust the handles on a dial or faucet and – voila!
But how does it get hot in the first place?
Obviously, we know that a water heater works its magic behind a closet door somewhere in the house, but what happens in the unit itself? That depends on the type of heating system in question. Let’s take a look at the most popular types of water heaters in our part of the world.
But first, we need to consider the fuel source behind the resulting hot water. Though most fuel types will power most water heaters, some combinations are more efficient than others. For example, a tankless system requires a lot of energy at one time, so electrical systems may need to be upgraded in order to handle the demand.
There are also limitations and varying regional utility rates to consider, so be sure to consult a water heater installation professional in Vancouver before making a final decision.
Which Fuel Source Will Work for My Heater?
|Storage Water Heaters||Hybrid/Heat-Pump Water Heaters||Tankless Water Heaters|
|Solar||X (as part of a special, integrated system)|
*For more information, read The U.S. Department of Energy’s advice on choosing a new water heater.
A quick guide to water heater types
- Storage Water Heaters
These are the most common style of water heater for homes. They include a 20-80 gallon hot water reservoir, and works by releasing hot water from the top when the tap is used, and replacing it with cold water through the bottom of the tank. The tank is always full, which means there is a consistent supply. The downside is that energy can be wasted due to “standby heat loss” (hot water that requires constant heating while not in use).
These systems are extremely efficient, especially in regions like the Northwest where temperatures hover between 40 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Operating costs are low but the initial cost is higher than other types, so Clark Public Utilities offers generous rebates for homeowners who choose to have a heat pump water heater installed by a licensed contractor.
- Solar Water Heaters
Solar can be a very cost-effective and environmentally sensitive method for heating your water. However, before settling on a solar water heating system, speak with a solar thermal system contractor about local building code requirements, safety concerns, and climate in your area. Solar water heaters require specialized storage tanks and solar collectors and come in two styles – passive and active. Read about the differences between passive and active solar water heating systems here.
- Tankless Water Heaters
Though these “demand-type” or “instantaneous” units cost more initially than storage tanks, long-term operational costs are significantly lower. The advantage is that they don’t produce standby energy loss. When hot water is turned on at the tap, cold water travels through a heating element to deliver a constant supply of hot water. The only disadvantage is that the flow rate is limited.