Advancements in Water Heater Technology

By January 18, 2016Blog

A traditional water heater is among the simplest appliances in your home. Still, when they break, it’s often more cost effective to replace one rather than repair it. A water heater typically lasts from 8 to 15 years, so if yours is approaching the end of its life, it’s not a bad idea to start considering your options for a replacement.

When shopping for a water heater, consider taking advantage of recent technological advancements. From conventional units to newer tankless varieties, heaters are more efficient than ever. Here are some of the ways newer heaters outperform older models.

Pad Your Savings With Insulated Tanks

Rheem Hybrid Heat PumpAny new water heater is likely to use less energy than an older model, and that includes the type of water tanks most people are familiar with. Tank heaters store hot water and are always on standby. This design is somewhat inefficient because the heaters suffer from energy loss. However, because tanks cost less than other types of heaters, they continue to be a good option for some homes. In addition, some tanks have substantial insulation that minimizes heat loss and energy bills. If you’re considering one of these tanks, look for a thermal resistant rating of R-12 to R-25.

Newer types of water tanks include heat pump and solar heaters. Both of these types of appliances use less energy than conventional models, although they generally cost more. In development are CO2 heat pump water heaters that promise even greater efficiency.

Instant Gratification

Tankless water heaters have been around for several years. Because they provide hot water on demand, nearly instantaneously, so they don’t suffer from the standby losses of tank-style heaters. A tankless heater can reduce monthly energy bills, and they can be anywhere from 10 to 50% more energy efficient. The heaters are powered by either electricity or gas. Exactly how much energy you can save by using an instantaneous heater depends on a number of variables, including how many units you install and how much water you typically use.

These heaters are most efficient when they’re positioned at each hot-water outlet. However, because the heaters are more expensive to buy, the investment is greater than if you were to purchase a traditional tank heater. Tankless varieties have a life expectancy of more than 20 years. If energy savings are more important to you than your initial costs, tankless models might make sense for you.

Hot Times Ahead

Research and advancements in heaters continue. Developers are working on ways to improve the temperature control on tankless models and on making a better gas-powered tank heater. There’s even a hybrid model in development that uses a heat pump and storage tank that promises to reduce energy consumption by an impressive 62%.

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