Energy-Efficient Water Heaters: Choosing Between Tankless Systems And Solar Water Systems

Construction & Contractors Articles

Appliances that are energy efficient are growing in popularity because they are better for the environment, use less energy and save users money. If you're thinking about replacing your old water heater with an energy-efficient one, the two best options are tankless water heaters and solar water heaters. Check out these important facts to help you make the decision.

Solar Water Heaters Use the Sun for Energy

As the name implies, solar water heaters need energy from the sun to heat your water. This means that you need to live in an area that gets a decent amount of sunlight throughout the year. It doesn't have to be hot, but it does have to be sunny. Collectors are used to capture the sun and include batch, flat-plate and evacuated tube collectors. Although they look different, they basically all work the same way. The sun heats water or a non-freezing solution, which is then transferred inside your home.

Solar Water Heater Store Water in a Tank

After the water or fluid is heated and sent into your house, one of two things will happen. If your system has direct circulation, it means your system directly heats water. That water is sent inside the house and stored in a tank to be used. If your system uses indirect circulation, it means it heats a non-freezing solution. A heat exchanger allows the heat from the fluid to transfer into a water tank, which is filled with clean water. Either way, the water must be held in a storage tank until it is needed.

Tankless Systems Use Electricity or Gas for Energy

Tankless systems work by passing cold water over a heating element. This heating element is powered by either gas or electricity. Because they use gas or electricity to heat the water, they are a better option than solar water heaters if you live in an area without much sunlight. However, just like with a traditional water heater, if there is a power outage or your gas isn't working, you don't have any hot water. When you use the sun for energy, you don't have to worry about losing power.  

Tankless Water Heaters Create Hot Water When you Need It

Tankless water systems don't need to store water in tanks because they heat the water only when you need it. During this heating process, the tankless water heater uses significantly more energy than a standard water heater. However, it uses the energy for a shorter amount of time. With a standard water heater, the energy is always running to keep the water in the tank hot. A tankless system only uses energy when you need it. On the down side, this means there isn't a large stash of hot water available at any given time, so if a lot of people are trying to use the hot water at once, you could have problems.

Both Options Are Expensive but Save You Money

Whether you choose a solar water heater or tankless water heater, expect to pay a lot of money. There are different types of tankless water heaters, but if you purchase a standard central whole-house gas heater, it will cost you between $800 and $3,000. A solar water heater costs even more, averaging between $6,000 and $17,000. On the plus side, they both save you money on your monthly energy bills because you are using less or no gas/electricity to heat your water.

Energy-efficient appliances are the wave of the future, so don't hesitate to upgrade your water heater to something better. For more information about energy-efficient water heaters contact a place like Rapids Plumbing & Heating Inc in your area today. 

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