Guest Post by Daniel Argent:
When it comes to getting hot water into your home, there are a number of ways you can do it. Like a majority of home installations, each way comes equipped with its own benefits and drawbacks. There are a number of variable to think about when looking at systems for hot water, including the size of the home, any home heating installations that already exist, current water heating needs, as well as regional differences like local prices on fuel. The list provided below on water heating systems and hot water tanks is nowhere near complete as there are others as well. For example, solar hot water tanks are perfect additions for homes in certain areas. Prior to purchasing a water heating system or tank, it is best to speak with a professional plumber and get their valued opinion regarding available options.
Tankless water heating systems tend to be the least expensive in regards to both installation and overall operation. Because tankless water heating systems work by heating up the water right on the spot, you will always have a virtually unlimited supply of hot water, though a bit at a slower rate. Because of the slow rate, the water temperature may fluctuate a bit. You know those shows and movies where someone is in the shower and someone else flushes the toilet while the other person is in the shower and the water gets obscenely uncomfortable? Yea, they most likely own a tankless water heater.
A hot water storage tank can improve the overall performance of the entire home’s water heating system. Most of the time, the hot water storage tank is installed when homeowners notice that their tankless water heating system is starting to lose efficiency due to its age. By supplementing the old system with a hot water storage tank, it is a lot less expensive than scrapping the whole system and buying a brand new one. This would most definitely be a job for a professional plumber!
Another addition to a tankless water heating system is the hot water booster tank. As the name suggests, this type of water tank boosts the hot water heating system’s performance, but is a bit more expensive to continually run. Just like the storage tank, the hot water booster tank requires the professional hands of a plumber to install. If it is not installed properly, it will be utterly ineffective.
Rather than tankless water heating systems, what about an electric, oil, or gas heater instead? These heating systems do not need as much maintenance and can be a cheaper option (depending on the availability of fuel). They can also provide a much more reliable stream of hot water throughout the home. Before purchasing an alternative system, however, first speak to a local plumber about how viable these types of systems would be in your geographic location.
To reduce the overall energy demand of the hot water heating tank, it is a good idea to get it insulated. It is very inexpensive to do and it cuts down associated monthly utility costs by around ten percent. Insulation is taken and wrapped around the tank like a jacket. Just make sure the thermometer is not covered and the tank temperature is not set to more than 130 degrees. This will reduce any possible risk of wire damage. Insulation will also aid in lengthening the shelf life of the hot water heater.
If you are unsure of whether or not to purchase insulation, place your hand right on the exterior of the tank. If the tank feels warm, it most likely can benefit from insulation.
Daniel Argent is the community manager for TheHomeFixers.com, a place where contractors and homeowners can connect. We make it easy to find the perfect Tacoma Plumber for your next home improvement project.
image via SalleyWags