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Should I Buy a Traditional, Tankless, or Hybrid Water Heater?

When purchasing a brand new water heater, a homeowner today has more choices than ever before. It can be a little overwhelming, especially now that many people are considering switching to a tankless or hybrid unit.

Which Type of Water Heater is Best?

If you’re wondering which type of water heater is best for your household, read on to learn the key features, pros, and cons of the three most-talked-about styles of water heater on the market:

  • Storage Tank (Traditional)

  • Tankless (On-Demand)

  • Heat Pump (Hybrid)


Storage Tank (Traditional) Water Heater


How They Work

Because storage tank water heaters are more common than their tankless and hybrid counterparts, they are what typically comes to mind when people think of water heaters. They store and heat water up inside of an insulated tank. The hot water is then released into your home’s plumbing system through a pipe on top of the tank.

Energy Source

Storage tank water heaters can be powered by gas or electricity. Some people might be tempted to buy an electric water heater over a gas-powered model because of the difference in upfront cost (natural-gas water heaters almost always cost more). However, it’s important to consider that most gas models require less energy and cost about half as much to run.

Usage

When purchasing a storage tank water heater, it’s essential to buy one with the right capacity for your household’s water usage. If your home has multiple people and appliances that need to use hot water at the same time, you’re going to need a tank with a larger capacity than a household of just two people.

Pros and Cons of Traditional Water Heaters

Pros:

  • They are less expensive to purchase (and usually less expensive to install) than tankless units.

  • The high-capacity units can meet high hot water demands, making them good for large families.

Cons:

  • They do not last as long as tankless units or heat pump units. (Storage tank water heaters last about 8 to 12 years, whereas heat pump water heaters last 13 to 15 years, and tankless heaters last up to 20 years.)

  • They are not as energy-efficient as tankless units.

  • A newer water heater may not fit in the same place as your old one. Federal regulations have required newer models to have better efficiency, which may increase the height or width of a new water heater with the same capacity as the one you’re replacing.


Tankless (On-Demand) Water Heater


How They Work

Tankless water heaters are often referred to as “on-demand” water heaters because of the way they operate. As water travels through the unit, the heating element inside of the unit heats up the water “on demand.”

Energy Source

Tankless water heaters can run on gas or electricity. If your home currently uses natural gas to heat water, a gas model can be installed with little or no difficulty. However, if you want an electric tankless water heater, your home may need to get a pricey electrical upgrade to accommodate it.

Usage

If you’ve never owned a tankless water heater before and are used to looking at water heater’s tank capacity, you’ll instead want to look at the gallons-per-minute rating (GPM) when assessing a tankless water heater. If your family requires a lot of hot water usage, you’ll need to consider a unit with a higher GPM to keep up with your family’s needs. You may need to consider installing two separate tankless units if you tend to need hot water for multiple, simultaneous uses.

Pros and Cons of Tankless Water Heaters

Pros:

  • They are more energy-efficient than storage tank units.

  • They take up significantly less space than a storage tank unit. Tankless units average about 2 feet in height and a little over 1 foot in width.

  • They last longer than storage tank heaters and heat pump water heaters. (Storage tank water heaters last about 8 to 12 years. Heat pump water heaters last 13 to 15 years. Tankless water heaters last up to 20 years.)

Cons:

  • They cost more to purchase (and usually more to install) than storage tank water heaters.

  • One unit on its own may not be able to supply enough hot water for large households that will be drawing water for more than one purpose simultaneously.


Heat Pump (Hybrid) Water Heater


How They Work

A heat pump or hybrid water heater is comprised of a tank on the bottom and a heat pump on top. Instead of generating heat directly, this type of water heater uses electricity to move heat from one place (the air) to another (your water). According to the U.S. Department of energy, this method of heating your water makes a heat pump water heater two to three times more efficient than standard electric water heaters.

Energy Source

As mentioned above, heat pump water heaters rely on electricity. They are sometimes referred to as “hybrid” water heaters because they are able to directly heat water with electricity if needed during periods when a lot of hot water is being used by multiple sources.

Usage

A lot of heat pump water heaters have a control panel where you can switch the settings to meet your household’s hot water needs. For instance, changing the setting to “hybrid” mode (also called “high-demand” mode) will allow your water heater to supply you with enough hot water during periods of high usage.

Pros and Cons of Hybrid Water Heaters

Pros:

  • They use over 50% less energy than standard electric water heaters and cost less to operate.

  • The dehumidify and cool the space around them.

  • They can adapt to suit larger families.

  • They last a few years longer than storage tank units. (Storage tank water heaters last about 8 to 12 years, whereas heat pump water heaters last 13 to 15 years.)

Cons:

  • They may not work in some spaces with lower ceilings because of the heat pump’s location on top of the unit.

  • They will not work well in spaces that get lower than 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • They must be installed in a location that offers more than 1,000 cubic feet of surrounding air from which to draw heat. Installing them in a location much smaller than a 12-foot by 12-foot room decreases their efficiency.

  • They do not last as long as tankless units. (Tankless units last up to 20 years.)

Whether you have a minor problem that can be repaired or want to upgrade to a more energy-efficient model, Rudd Plumbing’s service will exceed your expectations. We offer quality water heaters in traditional models, tankless, and hybrid water heaters to satisfy any preference and requirements.


Call today or contact us online to learn more about which type of water heater heater will best suit the needs of you and your family. We serve Tyler and the surrounding areas!


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