A decade ago, you might not have had many choices when buying a new water heater for your Siesta Key, Florida, home. Today, however, you’ll find countless options that all profess to be the best. So how can you narrow down your choices? From conventional storage to tankless to heat pump to solar, follow this guide to choosing the ideal water heater for your home.
Conventional Storage Water Heaters
As their name implies, conventional storage water heaters include the most traditional water heater models. They’re so common that if you’re replacing a model that you’ve had for over a decade, there’s a good chance that it’s a storage water heater.
You’ll know a conventional storage water heater the moment you see it, as all models have a large tank for holding hot water. These models work by using an energy source to heat up water and then storing the warm water so it’s ready when your family needs it for bathing, cleaning, or cooking.
Although these models all have a similar look, they come with a variety of capacities and hookup options. You can choose a model with a natural gas or electric hookup that works with the type of power source your home already uses. You can also select models with storage tanks that range from 20 to 80 gallons to meet your family’s needs. If you aren’t sure what capacity you need, ask the Aqua Plumbing & Air team for help calculating.
Conventional storage water heaters are popular for a reason. Since they keep water hot around the clock, you can look forward to taking a steamy shower or running a load of whites any time, with no need to wait. If you opt for a model with sufficient capacity, your water heater can provide enough hot water for your family to take multiple showers and run the washer or the dishwasher simultaneously.
While conventional storage water heaters are some of the most affordable water heaters on the market, they can drive up your utility bill. Since these water heaters use energy to keep water warm at all times, they can be energy hogs. Check the yellow Energy Guide label before purchasing to get a sense of how much the water heater costs to run each year, and consider adding extra insulation around the tank’s exterior to save energy and lower your utility bills.
Tankless Water Heaters
Unlike conventional storage tank water heaters, tankless models don’t heat and store hot water. Instead, they heat water when you need it, which explains why they’re also known as demand-type water heaters. When you turn on the shower or start the washing machine, cold water travels through the tankless water heater, which uses natural gas or electricity to heat up the water on the spot. These models are designed to work quickly, usually producing anywhere from 2 to 5 gallons of hot water per minute.
One of the biggest benefits of a tankless water heater is its built-in energy efficiency. Since these models don’t waste energy on keeping water warm around the clock, they use much less energy than conventional storage water heaters do. Some tankless water heaters even boast Energy Star certification, which means they meet or exceed national energy efficiency standards.
Tankless models tend to be more expensive to purchase than conventional storage water heaters, but over time, the energy savings that tankless models offer can make them more budget-friendly options. For households that use 40 or fewer gallons of hot water per day, a tankless water heater can be up to 34 percent more energy efficient than a conventional storage model. That can equal hundreds of dollars in savings during a year of typical use. Since tankless models can last up to twice as long as conventional storage water heaters, a tankless water heater can be a very cost-effective option.
If you have limited space for installing a water heater, a tankless model could be a smart choice. Since they’re so small and don’t require much space, you can easily install one in the bathroom, laundry room, or kitchen, mere inches from where the hot water will pour out.
Tankless water heaters do have drawbacks, though. These models can’t always produce enough hot water for multiple simultaneous applications. If everyone in your household tends to get ready for work and school at the same time every morning, you may need to invest in two or more tankless water heaters to produce sufficient hot water. The same holds true if you typically wash dishes and loads of laundry at the same time.
Heat Pump Water Heaters
If your Siesta Key home relies on a heat pump to keep your family cool in the summer and warm in the winter, then you might already be familiar with the technology behind a heat pump water heater. Essentially, these models use heat pump technology, which is similar to reverse refrigeration, to pull excess heat from the air and transfer it into the water.
Heat pump water heaters typically have storage tanks, as they keep warm water on hand for whenever your family needs it. Like conventional storage water heaters, heat pump water heaters are available in a variety of capacities so you can choose one that produces enough hot water for your family without wasting excessive energy. Since these models use heat pump technology, you can only purchase electric heat pump water heaters.
Most homeowners who invest in heat pump water heaters do so for the impressive energy savings. An Energy Star-certified heat pump water heater uses as little as a quarter of the energy that a standard storage water heater does, which is great for boosting your household’s energy efficiency and helping you save money. These models work especially efficiently in warm climates, which makes them smart picks for Florida homeowners. Since they pull heat from the air, they don’t operate efficiently in cold spaces, which isn’t likely to be an issue in Siesta Key.
If you’re short on space, installing a heat pump water heater could be a tight squeeze. These models tend to need extra space to draw in and exhaust air safely, so they require more clearance than other models. Talk with our team if you’re concerned about space and want to ensure that a heat pump water heater is ideal for your home.
Solar Water Heaters
When you’re looking to install a new water heater, you’ll also want to consider a solar model. Solar water heaters have two main parts: a solar collector and a storage tank. The solar collector perches on the roof of your home, where it collects and stores energy from the sun. Then the storage tank uses solar energy to warm up water for your family to use.
You can choose between active and passive solar water heating systems for your home. Active systems, which tend to be more expensive and more efficient, work by pumping your home’s water supply through the solar collector and to the various hot water taps and appliances in your home. Passive systems, which tend to cost less and last longer, depend on warm water to rise as cool water falls.
If you want to improve your home’s energy efficiency, a solar water heater could be a smart investment. These are some of the most efficient models on the market, and they can keep your energy consumption impressively low since they draw free energy from the sun. Because these systems work so smoothly, you might not even need to schedule routine maintenance more often than every three to five years.
While solar water heaters have plenty of perks, they do struggle to operate efficiently in cloudy weather. This won’t be a significant problem given Siesta Key’s sunny skies, but most solar water heaters come with built-in backup energy hookups just in case. During extended cloudy periods, your water heater may operate like a conventional storage water heater, which could compromise energy efficiency and increase your utility bills.
Whether you’re just beginning to weigh your options or you’re ready to schedule a water heater installation, we’re here to help with all your residential plumbing needs. Call Aqua Plumbing & Air at (941) 306-3715 today.
Image provided by Bigstock