Water heaters are used to provide hot water to a home or business.
Water heaters are used to provide hot water to a home or business. Typically, they function by heating the water and then storing the water in a tank until it is needed.
When you turn on your faucet and hot water flows out of the tap, that water came from your water heater’s storage tank. In order for it to get there, cold water is taken into the unit through one pipe and an electric element or gas burner heats the water. Once the liquid reaches a specified temperature (usually anywhere between 120-140 degrees Fahrenheit), it will come out of a second pipe and into your home.
The first commercially successful water heater was created in 1889.
You may be surprised to learn that the first commercially successful water heater was created by Edwin Ruud, a Norwegian immigrant to the United States. Ruud invented his system in 1891 and founded the company Ruud Manufacturing Company in 1896; it produced the first electric water heater in 1889.
As you can see, there’s a lot of history behind why Americans today have hot water at their disposal. But no matter what kind of water heater you own, it’s important to know how to take care of it so that you don’t end up with a cold shower (and all sorts of other plumbing problems).
The first ever water heater was invented by Roger Bacon in the late 13th century.
Did you know that the first water heater was invented by Roger Bacon, an English philosopher and scientist in the 13th century? While it might seem hard to believe that someone would ever have invented something as useful as a water heater, this is actually true. It wasn’t until the late 19th century that the first commercial water heaters were made by the American Water Works Company.
Water heaters can be powered by electricity, natural gas, liquid petroleum, propane and solar energy.
How water heaters are powered varies, but generally they run off a fuel source. The most common of these include electricity, natural gas, liquid petroleum (a type of fuel that is derived from crude oil), propane and solar energy.
The difference between water heaters that use these different types of fuel sources can vary widely.
There are several types of water heaters including storage tank, indirect and tankless.
The most common water heaters are storage tank and tankless water heaters. Storage tank water heaters require a lot of space because they have a large storage tank, but they also provide an adequate amount of hot water. This is advantageous if you have a large household with multiple bathrooms, as well as if you like to take long showers. Tankless units take up less space and can be installed at the point of use. These units also do not lose any hot water from standby loss since the element is activated only when it senses the flow of water.
A storage tank is the traditional method for storing hot water for household usage.
Unlike tankless water heaters, a storage tank is the traditional method for storing hot water for household usage. The tank stores the water in a heated state until it’s needed. It has a connecting pipe that supplies hot water from the tank to the faucet when needed. These tanks are normally insulated and have an insulating jacket made from foam or fiberglass to prevent heat from escaping from the stored water. Electric models are often more energy efficient than gas models, but gas models cost less to operate.
The initial cost of purchasing and installing a storage tank can be lower than purchasing and installing a tankless system, but over time, these costs will be recovered through savings on your energy bills. A storage tank can last between 10 and 15 years while a high-quality gas system can last up to 25 years with proper maintenance and care during that time period.
Indirect water heaters draw their heat from another source, such as a boiler or solar heating system. They are a highly popular option because they can be used with oil, electric and gas-powered heating systems, and are extremely energy efficient. Unlike storage tank units, they don’t need to be heated continuously, making them more efficient overall.
Although indirect units have a higher initial cost than storage tank models, you’ll save money on operating costs in the long run because of their efficiency.
Electric water heaters
Electric water heaters are often a more affordable option for those who live in mild climates. They’re also easier to install than gas models, and they don’t produce carbon monoxide or cause the dangers associated with natural gas leaks. For example, if you have an electric model, you won’t need a venting system, or you can install it almost anywhere in your home as long as there’s an outlet nearby. But electric water heaters also tend to be less efficient overall compared to their gas counterparts, so they may not be the smartest choice if you live in a home where hot water needs are higher.
Advantages of Electric Water Heaters:
- Less expensive up front than gas versions and typically cheaper to operate (but your results will vary depending on local electricity rates)
- No burning fuel means no fumes that could cause indoor air pollution
- Many are wall-mounted and take up very little space
Gas water heaters
Gas water heaters are the most efficient and cost-effective of the three types. Using a pilot light to ignite a burner that heats the water, gas water heaters are typically cheaper than electric models, which is why so many households opt for this type. If you live in an area with high natural gas rates, however, your costs may be higher than compared to someone with a lower rate who uses electricity.
Installing a gas water heater requires running a gas pipe from the meter to the appliance’s location. You also have to install a vent system that exhausts gases outside your home—a job best left to an experienced plumber or contractor, who can also help you determine whether your current system is adequate or if it needs upgrades and adjustments.
If you do decide to replace your old unit with another one of the same type and capacity, installation is fairly simple. Before doing any maintenance on your unit, make sure it’s turned off at both the thermostat and circuit breaker or fuse box so you don’t get shocked by residual electrical currents in exposed lines or wires once you disconnect them from their power source.
Tankless water heaters
While installing a tankless water heater requires more upfront costs than a conventional storage-tank water heater, it is certainly the more energy-efficient option. Additionally, because tankless units only heat water when you need hot water rather than continuously heating stored water like storage-tank options do, they are an eco-friendly option as well. With consistent use, your monthly operating costs will be lower with a tankless unit. Tankless options also require less space because they do not have to hold any stored water, so if you currently have a small home or plan on renovating or building a new home that has little space to reserve for hot water storage, this would be the ideal choice.
Another major pro of the tankless unit is its longevity; compared to conventional units that last about 10 years, you may get up to 20 years out of your tankless system (though some can last as long as 30 years). Storing less water also means there is less chance of corrosion and buildup in the system and subsequent malfunctions.
With all of these benefits, it’s no secret that we strongly believe choosing a tankless over a conventional model is the best choice for both your wallet and your peace of mind!