If you are considering a hot water heater replacement, you may think that your options are limited to gas or electric water heating tanks or boilers. However, there are many alternatives to the old-fashioned method of using natural gas, oil, or electricity to heat water in a tank and keep it hot all of the time.
Although the traditional method of keeping hot water stored in a tank is an efficient way to ensure that hot water is always available in your home, it can needlessly waste precious natural resources. Additionally, a traditional hot water boiler or heater adds significantly to your monthly utility bills. This article will point you in the direction of some alternatives that are better for the environment and your bank account.
Tankless Hot Water Heaters
Tankless hot water heaters are exactly what the name implies. They are hot water heaters that do not store water in a tank. Rather, they heat the water instantaneously as it passes through a heater coil or element. These types of tankless water heaters are sometimes also called "instant" hot water heaters.
Tankless hot water heaters are available in electric, LPG, and natural gas variations. With this type of hot water heater, you never have to worry about running out of hot water. On the other hand, most water heaters without a storage tank cannot supply high volumes of hot water at any one time. In fact, as the water pressure to the water heater increases, the temperature of the water usually decreases.
On the brighter side, tankless hot water heaters are much more environmentally friendly than standard tank-based water heaters. They don't waste energy by reheating water in the tank over and over again until it is used. Also, these types of water heaters don't suffer from the corrosion and rust problems that water heaters with tanks do. This is because water is not stored and minerals and sediment don't have a chance to settle in the base of the water heater tank. This means that there is usually much less maintenance associated with tankless water heaters.
Solar Hot Water Heaters
If you want to completely move away from wasting precious energy resources when heating the water in your home, consider purchasing and installing a solar hot water heater. Solar hot water heaters work in a similar manner to electric hot water heaters in that they usually have a storage tank that is used to store hot water.
The difference between a standard electric water heater and a solar hot water heater is, however, the way the water is heated. Instead of electricity, a solar hot water heater is powered by the sun. Solar collectors are placed outside the home that are used to charge batteries that provide the power needed to heat the coils or heating element inside the water tank.
A solar hot water heater can drastically reduce the amount of your monthly electrical bill. However, these types of hot water heaters are usually not practical in areas that don't receive a lot of direct sunlight or have an unusually high number of rainy days during the year.