Tankless or “on demand” water heaters are growing in popularity in the U.S., though for many homes, the old standby, the storage tank water heater, remains the best choice. It offers a dependable and convenient source of hot water, and the new generation of storage water heaters is much more energy efficient than they ever where in the past.
The storage tanks in conventional water heaters can hold anywhere from 20 to 120 gallons of hot water and can be heated with either electricity or gas. Homeowners enjoy using storage water heaters because they provide a consistent amount of hot water. Cold water is brought in from the bottom, while the water at the top is heated. As the cold water rises, it slowly gets heated. Tankless water heaters, in contrast, heat the water as it goes through the pipe.
One of the drawbacks of the storage tank water heater is that it loses heat through the tank’s walls while the hot water is waiting to be used. This forces the heating element to reheat the water every time its temperature falls below the thermostat setting. If your family is frequently calling upon hot water for various uses, there’s very little wasted energy. However, if there are long periods between hot water uses, you’re basically paying to store unused hot water in the tank. The good news is that newer model storage tank water heaters come pre-insulated, minimizing the standby heat loss from the tank. Older models can be wrapped with insulating jackets or blankets, as well.
The other advantage of a storage tank water heater is that when it’s time for replacement, the installation is relatively simple, especially if you plan to replace a gas model with a gas model, or electric with electric. Upgrading to a tankless model, on the other hand, may require serious modifications to plumbing and venting.
Ernst Heating & Cooling are the experts on water heaters in southwest Illinois. For more information on home comfort and energy savings in your Troy, Edwardsville, Bethalto or Alton area home, please contact us today.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hamel, Alton, Glen Carbon, Highland, Greenville, and Troy, Illinois and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).