What Are the Different Types of Water Heaters That Exist Today?

In the UK, plumbing costs can vary, but for big jobs, you can expect to pay over £300 plus the cost of the appliance.

When you break down the types of water heaters on the market, there are five distinct variations. Each one of these comes with costs and benefits. Understanding the different types of water heaters can help you determine which one is best for your home or building.

Let’s break down each of the five so we can better understand how they work, and any potential drawbacks they might have.


1. Traditional or Tank Water Heater

There’s a good chance you’ve seen one of these water heaters. They are often in the basement or a utility closet and feature a large steel tank. This tank fills with water and a burner underneath heats up the water to a preset level and then opens to the residential water system.

Modern tank water heaters last for a long time and are capable of withstanding a lot of wear and tear. As long as the tank is big enough you will have sufficient hot water for showers, washing dishes, and any other task that you need. If the tank isn’t big enough, or if the unit is getting old, you may find that you often run out of hot water.

Tank water heaters are not expensive, but they can be difficult to install. Your best bet is to have a licensed plumber take care of the installation process. Despite the drawbacks and monthly costs, these types of water heaters remain amongst the most popular options for homeowners.

Another downside to traditional water heaters is that they keep a set amount of water hot whether you need it or not. A common home renovation project is to change traditional water heaters into on-demand water heaters, a trend that continues to this day.

2. Tankless Water Heater

On-demand or tankless water heaters have been gaining popularity around the world for the last few decades. These systems mount on a wall either in a cellar or in the house itself. These water heaters can be electric or gas-powered and heat up water as it moves through the pipes.

This produces hot water whenever you need it, but spares you the cost of always maintaining a reservoir of hot water. This efficient approach is what has driven the change from old, traditional water heaters to new, tankless models. While this approach saves you money every month, there are some cost considerations to make.

A new tankless water heater will cost more upfront than a traditional model. They are rated by how many liters of water they can heat on demand, and thus the more hot water you need the more expensive the unit will be.

3. Heat Pump Water Heaters

A smart homeowner can save some money by switching to a heat pump water heater. These reduce energy usages but considerable margins compared to traditional hot water heaters. This change is due to the fact that the heat pump transfers heat, it doesn’t create it using gas or flame.

This transfer of heat means that the system will operate cheaper. The unit will look a lot like a traditional hot water heater but doesn’t require a burner at the bottom. These units are powered by gas or by electricity.

While you will save money getting a heat pump water heater, they aren’t the most popular option. The reason for this is that they still run out of hot water if too much is used at once. This can lead to showers going cold in addition to the unit itself being more expensive.

4. Solar Powered Water Heater

These units come in a variety of shapes and forms. The earliest solar-heated water heaters were nothing more than systems that allowed the sun to heat the water. Modern units are often electrical in nature, harnessing solar power to do the heavy lifting of water heating.

While this is often effective in causing a dramatic lowering of energy bills, it can come with some drawbacks. The first and most obvious drawback is that it requires direct and unobstructed sunlight to work. If you live in an area that is often overcast you may not get the full benefit.

These units can also be expensive, requiring more work to install than other systems. They will have a component outside the home for collecting solar energy. If you live in the right place, however, this will provide your residential bathroom with all the hot water it could need.

5. Condensing Water Heater

Condensing water heaters are interesting because they come in more than one form. They come with tankless models as well as traditional models. In both forms, they can increase the efficiency of your water heating by a tremendous amount.

They do this by harnessing the power of the exhaust that is produced when heat is generated. A fan and a duct will often push this hot exhaust through the water heating tank or pipes and thus produce a second source of heat for the water. The only drawback to a system like this is the initial cost.

Condensing water heaters are a great addition to any home water system and will reduce the amount you pay per month. Getting a tankless model will provide you with sustained, environmentally friendly water heating that can keep up with almost any demand.

As long as the cost is not an option, there’s very little way to beat a condensing water heater. They will keep water hot for less energy, and they will heat water on demand for less energy. The key to their success is the elimination of waste produced by the heating process.


Types of Water Heaters

No matter what types of water heaters you’re looking at, find one that works for you. Balance the benefits of hot water with the cost of a new unit. Calculate how much the new water heater will cost you per month and then you’ll see the savings over the long term.

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