Water heaters are usually large metal cylinders found in the laundry room or basement of most homes. Some newer heaters with interesting features include tankless heaters and hybrids. Some newer heaters use an indirect heating relationship with a nearby home heating system. The traditional design, however, is a drum full of water, equipped with a heating mechanism on the bottom and thermostatic control to regulate hot water delivery.
What is a tankless hot water heater?
A tankless hot water heater is a water heater that provides hot water on demand rather than storing it in a tank. The benefits of this technology are efficiency, effectiveness and cost. Water is not heated to a temperature in a tank and kept at that temperature, so energy is only expended when there is a need for water to be heated. Standard water heaters with tanks waste most of their energy while sitting unused, losing heat through poor insulation and the exhaust pipe. Tankless, on-demand water heaters avoid this energy loss because there is no tank.
What is a hybrid hot water heater?
Hybrid water heaters use the technology of both conventional tank heaters and tankless water heaters. Different hybrid water heaters work in different ways; some have extra pipes to warm the water quickly and efficiently and some use new technology such as fuel cells to heat water, using less energy. The key reason to consider a hybrid water heater, despite the higher up-front investment, is the savings it provides due to increased efficiency.
At what temperature should I set my hot water heater?
The water heater's thermostat controls the temperature of the water inside the tank. Normally, the available temperature range is 120 to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Most manufacturers recommend 120 to 140 degrees – hot enough for household use but not so hot that it can pose a burn risk. If you have children, it’s a good idea to stay closer to the lower end of the range.
The lower you set your water heater temperature, the more energy you will save. Don’t forget to dial back the thermostat if you leave your home for an extended period.
I need a hot water heater. How do I get started?
Similar to other home heating systems, your hot water heater can be powered by different fuels and technologies. There are gas and oil-fired heaters. There are electric heaters and there are indirect models which draw on another heating system. Your Great River consultant can help you navigate the choices to select a model and technology that works best for your home and family.
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