As the prices of heating fuel soar, many homeowners have become curious about exactly how their home and the water in it are heated, are kept heated and how they might become heated in a more energy-efficient way. Some hot water heaters, for instance, heat the water and keep it warm until it’s used. Other types don’t heat the water until it’s needed, saving the energy needed to keep it hot. Many of the storage types use heater immersion to heat the water. With heater immersion, an electrical element fits into the side of the water tank with the thermostat extending to the exterior of the tank for easy use.
Types Of Heaters
The common storage tank heater can be made more efficient by adding a timer to your heater immersion device to heat the water at off-peak times when energy is less costly. Even if that option is not available in your area, your storage tank can become more efficient by the addition of insulation around it. The less heat is lost to the surrounding area, the less energy is used to keep it warm. You may have an indirect water heater system. This means that your furnace or boiler heats your water while it heats the house. Most often, hot water from a boiler circulates through a heat exchanger in a nearby tank. Less often, a heat exchanger coil filled with water to be heated circulates through a furnace then through the storage tank. Since the exchanger penetrates the tank in either case, it is similar to the heater immersion method. Using modern equipment, this is often the most efficient system. The storage tanks are efficiently insulated, the heating equipment is high-efficiency and the need for the heater to turn on and off is much less frequent.
The on demand water heaters don’t use energy to warm storage tanks. The most efficient ones use natural gas and an electronic ignition to save on energy used in a pilot light. Solar heaters are making a comeback from the 1970s. While the sun’s energy is cost-efficient, the start-up costs are higher since tax credits are no longer available. However, today’s less expensive units compare with electric and propane heaters over the lifetime of the unit while natural gas still beats them all.
Whether you decide on heater immersion, on demand, solar power or some other technology, the most efficient heater for you is the one that uses the fuel you have at hand, works for your climates and personal needs and best integrates with your existing water system.