Having access to potable water is a necessity. Having access to hot water is a luxury, and one that most of us have never had to do without for very long. So it follows that we don’t think about it much. It’s just always there, always available. But today’s technology offers many options to consumers looking for domestic hot water, and each has its own unique benefits.
The most familiar appliance for most of us is the storage water tank. Commonly available in sizes such as 40, 50 and 60 gallons (and even bigger), this unit heats the entire volume of water it holds, ready to distribute when the plumbing calls for it. On the positive side, even if you lose power temporarily, you’ve still got lots of hot water available. Additionally, the speed to get that hot water is the fastest since it’s pre-heated and in storage. These tanks are commonly powered by either electricity, or gas (natural, or propane). Those powered by gas, like any indoor gas appliance, need to be vented outdoors so the combustion fumes are safely expelled from the home, and there’s a small electric-based motor that powers this function, and is why they’re commonly referred to as “power vented” tanks.
More recently, tankless water heaters have gained favour. These on-demand water heaters work to heat water as it’s needed, driving stronger efficiency; you’re not pre-heating water you may not use until later. They’ll also work continuously if you’ve got fuel and electricity going to them, so for those of us connected to the natural gas grid, you’ve got access to unlimited hot water, unlike a tank that eventually runs out and needs time to recover and reheat its contents. While not always needed, it can occasionally be very convenient to have no limit to your available supply of hot water. The primary detraction of tankless units when compared to traditional storage units is that the hot water takes longer to get to the tap. While true, because it’s heating on-demand, this can be mitigated in two ways. The first is choosing a model that has a small hot water reservoir. The second is a recirculation kit that keeps hot water running in a loop throughout your home, which can also be a potent remedy to the woes of freezing pipes in the winter.
Regardless of whether you prefer a specific or unlimited amount of hot water, want it immediately or are okay with a small delay, there’s a great solution for everyone with today’s product range. If you think you’re paying too much to heat your home’s water, call in an expert to evaluate your equipment and lay out the details of these options to you; you might just save a few dollars on your energy bill, or at least have a more enjoyable shower or bath.