Choosing the Right Water Heater for You
From tankless to traditional, solar to hybrid—there are more choices than ever when it comes to water heaters! So how do you decide which one is best for you? Here’s the scoop on all your water heater options from the ROTO-ROOTER Seattle plumbing experts:
Conventional Water Heater
These are the water heaters we all know and love. They store water in a tank, heat it up, and are available in a variety of gallon capacities, depending on your family size and personal needs. The drawbacks? They’re big, taking up a lot of space, and they consume energy whether water is needed or not, making them less efficient than some other options. A conventional electric or gas water heater should last about 11-15 years and they cost about $300.
Tankless Water Heater (a.k.a. Instant or On-Demand Hot Water)
A tankless water heater is generally considered more energy efficient because it only heats water as it is needed. When the tap is turned on, the heater goes to work and supplies continuous hot water. It’s smaller and can hang on a wall—but it can require larger gas lines and special venting—all of which can be expensive. However, a tankless water heater has a life expectancy of 15-20 years and may reduce water heating bills by as much as 30 percent. They’re pricey, though, costing $700-$1500.
Solar Water Heater Systems
These eco-friendly units use the sun’s energy to generate hot water for your home. There are two types. The first, a passive solar water heating system, is typically the less expensive option, but they're usually not as efficient. They are, however, more reliable and may last longer. Active solar water heating systems utilize pumps and controls to circulate water into the home. Most solar water heating systems require a well-insulated storage tank and a backup system for cloudy days and high water demand.
Hybrid Heat Pump Water Heater
A hybrid water heater combines conventional tank storage with a heat pump that extracts heat from the air and uses it to help heat the water. It uses existing water and electrical connections, and can reduce water heating costs by almost 60 percent, making them a formidable competitor to tankless units.