Your water heater works hard for you—it’s an unsung hero of your home! In fact, the typical American household uses between 60 and 65 gallons of hot water a day for bathing and showering, washing dishes, laundry, cleaning, and other tasks. That’s a lot of hot water—and a lot of energy. So, if you’re thinking about replacing your water heater, it’s worth it to do a little research and make sure you get the most efficient hot water heater you can find.
For that, you have two basic options:
You can replace your old, tank style with a newer, somewhat more efficient model, or you can opt for a tankless water heater that will help you keep energy costs under control while delivering virtually unlimited hot water.
Here’s how the two types of water heaters work, and the pros and cons of each:
These are exactly what they sound like—and you’ve likely seen them before. It’s a big storage tank, typically about 20 to 80 gallons, that keeps all that water hot, so it’s ready when you need it next. These traditional types of units use a thermostat to make sure the water is hot enough when you want to use it, heating water to the set temperature and then reheating it as it cools. They can use oil, propane, or electricity to heat the water—so how much hot water you use can have a big impact on your energy bills.
If your water heater is in a poorly insulated area, such as the basement or garage, the water in the tank can get cold faster—it’s called “standing heat loss.” As a result, your water heater must work even harder, and it takes longer to heat back up again.
Storage tank water heaters are susceptible to rust and corrosion, which can lead to leaks. You need to stay vigilant for signs of deterioration.
Lastly, you are limited by the size of your tank if several people are using hot water at the same time or taking several showers in a row. You need a shower schedule or patience to wait for the tank to heat back up.
On the plus side, storage-tank water heaters are relatively inexpensive to purchase. More energy-efficient models are available, and you can also add additional insulation to reduce heat loss. That all said…they can still end up costing you more to operate!
Tankless water heaters save energy by instantly heating water when you need it. When you turn on the tap, water flows through the unit and is heated instantly by a propane-fueled heating element. When you turn off the tap, the unit stops heating water. Compare this to the cost of operating a traditional water heater, which requires you to keep a tank holding many gallons of water hot and ready to use all the time. As a result, you can enjoy virtually unlimited hot water—while seeing savings of up to 40%!
You’ll save space as well as energy. Tankless water heaters are compact—about the size of a suitcase—and can even hang on a wall, freeing up room in your basement or utility room. Like their name states, there’s no tank! That said, there are different sizes designed to fit different needs. Rather than total gallons, their output is measured in a flow rate of gallons per minute. The greater the volume of water you need at the same time will require a higher flow rate.
There are also condensing and non-condensing type units:
The main downside to a tankless water heater is the price—but they will pay for themselves in savings in the long run, vs a storage tank style, which will cost you more over time.
If you’ve decided a tankless propane water heater is the best choice for you, the pros at PitStop have the experience and knowledge to help you select the right size and type of water heater for your home.
We offer top-quality models from Rinnai that help you maximize energy efficiency when heating your water—and can help you save with generous rebates, too. Contact us for more information today!