How do you find the best water heater to save money and energy? What are the types of water heaters available? What kind of energy does the heater use?
When you are choosing a new water heater for your house, you need to get a water heating system that can not only give sufficient hot water but will also use the energy efficiently thereby saving money for you.
It includes taking into account the different kinds of water heaters available and deciding the right fuel source and size for your house. There is a water heating infographic available online called Energy Saver 101 that informs you about the different kinds of water heaters and how you can select the right model.
Water heater types
Let's learn about the different kinds of water heaters available for the home:
- Conventional storage water heaters: These offer a ready reservoir for hot water in the form of a storage tank.
- Demand-type or tankless water heaters: These kinds of water heaters heat the water directly without using the storage tank.
- Heat pumps: These are responsible for moving heat from one place to another rather than generating the heat directly for giving hot water.
- Solar water heaters: They use the heat generated from the sun to supply hot water.
- Indirect and tankless coil water heaters: This type of heater uses the space heating system from your home for heating the water.
Generally heat pumps and solar water heaters are the best choice if there is space and/or sun to install these. Read more about the advantages of heat pumps in this EU project.
Water heater selection criteria
While you are selecting the most suitable water heater model for your home, you need to take into consideration these things:
- Availability, cost, and fuel type: The energy source or fuel type you will need for the water heating not only upsets the annual operating costs of the water heater but is also responsible for deciding the size and energy efficiency while selecting the instrument.
- Size: For providing sufficient hot water to your entire household and for maximizing efficiency you are going to need a right-sized water heater. You can check out the specifications of different types of water heaters for more info regarding the sizes.
- Carbon footprint: If you are environmentally conscious as we all should be by now, choosing a heater based on the total carbon footprint also makes sense
- Energy efficiency: For maximizing the cost and energy savings you need to be aware of how efficient the water heater is before buying it. Again check out the specifications of various kinds of water heaters for a better understanding of the energy efficiency estimate.
- Costs: Before you can buy and carry out a water heater installation, it is a good practice to take into account the annual operating costs and compare them with other more or less energy-efficient models. You can also check the heater specs for more info about the estimation costs.
What fuel type is the best?
While choosing a new water heater, significantly, you take into account the type of fuel or the energy source you are going to use. Also, consider its cost and availability. The selection of fuel for the water heating system will not only affect your annual operating costs but will also decide the energy efficiency and size of the water heater. This will lead to narrowing down the choices of water heaters available to you. Here are some fuel options:
- Fuel oil: These can be used to fuel conventional water heaters, place heating systems, and indirect combination water systems.
- Electricity: Electricity can come from renewable resources, fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal) or nuclear and it can be used for fueling demand-type or tankless, conventional storage, indirect, tankless coil, and heat pump kinds of water heaters.
- Geothermal energy: Geothermal energy is available throughout the U.S. and Europe for the people that have a geothermal heat pump system working in their household for cooling and heating the spaces.
- Natural gas: Natural gas is a common energy source in the U.S. and Europe for fueling the demand and conventional storage water heaters including the instantaneous or tank-less ones. It can also be used for the combination of space and water heating systems including indirect water heaters and tankless coil water heaters.
- Propane: Propane is common in some countries using fueling tankless, instantaneous, and conventional water heaters. You may use propane for the blend of space and water heating systems.
- Solar energy: Solar energy is a growing source of energy and especially in the south. It can be used for solar water heaters.
The most environmental choices are Solar, Geothermal and electricity (if produced from renewable sources), in that order.
Conclusion on how to find the best water heater
The type of heater you select will have a direct bearing on the heating costs and your carbon footprint. One kind of water heater will likely use a specific type of fuel type more efficiently than another kind. But in general, the electric heat pump water heaters are likely to provide lowest energy cost.
You also need to do everything you can to reduce the use of hot water. It is a good idea to explore other strategies such as drain-water heat recovery for saving money on the water heating bill.
Also read our guide about the Best Water Filter.