Choosing a Hot Water System for Your Home: Essential Factors to Take into Account

Are you planning to buy a hot water unit but don’t know which type to go for?
With so many types and models to pick from, choosing the most suitable one can become very challenging.
Prior to parting with your hard earned cash, arm yourself with the following basics so you can easily determine the best hot water system suited for your household needs.
Hot water
Photo Credit

Types of water heaters
Conventional storage
With the use of natural gas, oil, propane or electricity, water is kept constantly heated in the storage tank.
Among all types, this is the kind commonly used in most households.
Like the name implies, water is heated directly sans the use of any storage tank.
This kind is also otherwise referred to as ‘on demand water heaters’.
Using a solar collector, solar hot water systems work by heating water using energy generated from the sun.
Among the various water heaters available, which type is the most suitable one for your home?
To identify the best type for your needs, take into account the following key factors:
Fuel type and availability of energy source
A unit’s yearly operation cost and energy efficiency typically depends on the type of fuel and energy source used.
Energy efficiency
When buying a unit, it’s important you choose one that comes with a higher energy factor (EF). Typically, the higher the EF, the more efficient it is.
To know which type will help you save more money, check out the different models available; compare annual operating cost estimates as well as the selling price of each.
For maximum system efficiency, choose a size that will complement your household needs.
For tankless types, sizing requires identification of the flow rate as well as the number of users in the household. While unknown to many, water temperature can drop once multiple users exceed the flow rate.
As for the solar type, you need to identify the total collector area as well as the storage volume to effectively gauge the right size to purchase.
To determine certain requirements and collector sizing, most contractors use worksheets and computer programs.
Lastly, storage water heater sizing is determined by using the unit’s first hour rating. This refers to the amount of hot water the unit is capable of supplying in an hour’s time.
Below are some of the benefits and drawbacks of each type.
Conventional storage
• Affordable
• Can last up to 10-15 years
• Contains an average EF rating of 0.67
• Widely available and comes in various sizes
• May run out of hot water during extended use
• Cost ranges from $200 to $400 (installation fee still not included)
• Free energy from the sun
• Lower monthly energy bills
• Can last up to 20 years
• Most models come with a hefty price tag
• Uses conventional water heater for backup
• DIY kits costs $2,000 while professional installation cost can range from $5,000 to $7,000
• Expensive
• Little to no standby energy loss
• Contains an average EF rating of 0.75
• Uses 20 to 30 per cent less energy compared to storage tank units
• Requires little space (it can even be mounted inside or outside)
• Cost ranges from $600 to $1000 (installation not included)

Thanks to Jasmine Keynes for being a guest blogger on 1-800-PLUMBING!

Back To Top