A water heater is a necessary installation in almost every American home, and is considered a long-term purchase. Do you want to buy a tank heater or a tankless water heater when it is time to replace your current heater? We’ll help you weigh up the pros and cons of each type of water heater replacement, so you can make an informed choice.
Water heating accounts for 14-18 percent of residential energy consumption. If you find yourself using more hot water than average or have unaffordable, high energy bills each month, you may want to consider the new water heater technology that’s on the market. While there is an initial cost, there are many technologies available to lower energy consumption and help consumers save money. These technologies include heat pump water heaters (HPWH), and point-of-use (POU) heaters, both of which are viable water heater replacement options for residents of Bloomington, IL.
Heat Pump Water Heaters
Although the heat pump water heater isn’t a new technology, it is experiencing a resurgence in recent years. The latest generation of heat pump water heaters are available from some of the world’s largest manufacturers. Both Bosch and Carrier, for example, are utilizing modern air-to-water heat pump technology in their latest water heaters.
There are two types of water heater replacement services that incorporate heat pumps. The first, more costly option, replaces an electric water heater with an integrated unit that combines a heat pump and a water tank. The second type adds the heat pump units to an existing water heater. In both versions, the heat pump circulates a refrigerant which absorbs heat from the air, then passes through a compressor to maximize heat output. The heat is then transferred to the tank’s water.
The heat pump can provide most of the heat required by the water heater. However, the tank usually also has an electric resistance element fitted that can be used as a backup if the ambient temperature is too low for traditional heat pump operation. You may find during cold winters that your tank will be subsidizing heat through this element. These combination water heater replacement units are known as hybrid heat pump water heaters because they use both heat pump technology and electric resistance to heat water.
Although heat pump water heaters consume approximately half of the electricity used by conventional electric heaters, there is a downside. The hybrid units often cost twice as much as a traditional tank heater, which makes it one of the most costly water heater replacement purchase options. The payback period depends on how much electricity you utilize, how much the electricity costs, and how much you pay for the heat pump water heater. However, some Bloomington, IL, residents can qualify for home weatherization assistance which may offset the cost. HVAC repair or replacement, water heater repair or replacement, lighting and refrigerator replacement, and ventilation upgrades are all possible through IHWAP, a program designed to ensure that houses are more energy efficient.
One advantage of choosing to upgrade to a water heater with a heat pump is that you can install the heat pump water heater in either a conditioned or unconditioned area. This gives you much more freedom in water heater placement. To ensure adequate air exchange, space must not exceed 10 square feet. A garage, an open basement or utility area are all viable placement options. You can either let the cool exhaust air out into the air surrounding it, which will cool and dehumidify the air, or you can vent it outdoors.
The most efficient heat pump water heaters work in humid and warm climates, so you’ll see these units work far more efficiently during warm Louisiana summers. During winter, the electric element of the water heater will turn on whenever the temperature drops below a certain temperature, e.g., 45 degrees Fahrenheit, which will reduce the energy savings. It’s worth considering if you’re happy with this trade-off when deciding on a water heater replacement.
Point-of-use Water Heaters
You may lose heat depending on the location of your hot water heater and how far the hot water has to travel before it’s being used. A point-of-use water heating system (POU) can help to reduce this heat loss. These heaters are usually located close to water’s intended end use, such as near the shower or sink. This can be more efficient than raising the temperature of your main water heater to guarantee the desired temperature when a fixture is far from the point of origin.
Smaller point-of-use water heaters are not strong enough to heat entire households, however, so they are not a viable water heater replacement for the main unit. However, they can be used as water heaters for dedicated areas, e.g., bathrooms or kitchens.
Tank vs Tankless Water Heaters
A tankless water heater is small enough to be installed in tight spaces. If you are switching from a tank water heating system, however, your home may need to be modified in order to accommodate the tankless heater. The installation process can be complicated and take longer due to changes in plumbing and wiring. Switching to an alternative power source such as an electric water heater or gas model will likely result in a higher initial cost.
Overall, storage tank water heaters are the least expensive option for water heater replacement, regardless if they have a single heat pump or are a hybrid model. For further energy savings costs, storage heaters can be insulated to reduce standby heat loss. The constant heating of the water tank results in standby temperature loss, and this can increase energy costs as the heater ages.
A tankless water heater offers the fastest delivery of hot water, which is one of its greatest perks. It can also help you save water, as you don’t have to leave water running while waiting for hot water to reach the faucet, shower head, or other fixture.
If looking for a heat pump installation or water heater replacement, contact Covenant Plumbing in Bloomington, IL. We understand how crucial it is to have a properly installed heat pump and water heater. That’s why we use certified and experienced professionals for all our install, maintenance, and repair work.