Choosing The Right Water Heater

Choosing the right water heater is not simply a matter of the best brand or having the bigger, the better. With the cost of energy rising, our first consideration will be what is enough for your household? Considering usage, what type of water heater will be best? A household spends between 14-20% a year of the utility bills on water heating. Know the different types, heat source, size, and costs before you decide.

Types of Water Heaters

Conventional Storage Tank Water Heaters

This is the most common type of water heater.  Water is heated in the tank either by gas or electricity and stored until needed. Natural gas types of storage tank heaters cost less than the electric type, though the natural gas water heaters have a higher initial out-of-the-pocket cost. They generally cost less than other water heaters. Still, in general, this wastes energy as water in the tank is kept heated.

Storage water tank heaters last about 10-15 years.

Fuel sources: Electricity, propane, natural gas, fuel oil

Tankless or On-Demand Water Heater

A tankless water heater provides heat only when you turn on the faucet or shower, and as such is more energy efficient. However, with multiple simultaneous users, it becomes less efficient in heating water consistently. To solve this you might need another tankless water heater if hot water usage is high. This is more costly than a storage water tank heater.

The good note is that tankless water heaters last longer, about 20 years or more.

Fuel sources:  Electricity, propane, natural gas

Heat Pump Water Heater

Heat Pumps work by pulling heat from the air and then transferring it to to the tank to heat the water. They are more energy efficient than conventional storage tank heaters, but they cost more to install. Furthermore, this type of heater doesn’t work well in cold places, and they need to be installed in places that maintain heat between 40-90 degrees. Heat pump water heaters also need more space of clearance around it to be able to capture enough heat from the air, plus a drain for the resulting condensate.

Heat Pump water heaters last about the same as the storage tank type, 10-15 years.

Fuel sources:  Electricity, propane, natural gas

Solar Water Heater

As the name suggests, solar panels installed on the roof absorb the sun’s heat and transfer the heat into the storage tank. Though this is earth-friendly as it uses nature’s own heat, this may not be enough on cloudy days or when demand is high, or where there is not too much sun. You will still need a backup heater just in case. They are also relatively expensive to install.

Solar water heaters last about 20 years.

Fuel source: Solar heat

Tankless Coil or Indirect Water Heaters

A tankless coil water heater works by water flowing through a heating coil in the main furnace or boiler. They may not be efficient all the time. Indirect water heaters, on the other hand, are more efficient. They work by using the boiler or main furnace to heat fluid through a heat exchanger in the storage tank.

The lifespan of tankless and indirect water heaters: 10 years.

Fuel sources: Electricity, propane, natural gas, fuel oil.

Aside from choosing the right water heater and the availability of fuel source in your area, you also need to consider the size/capacity. Contact us for a more efficient estimate and to get your best options in choosing the right water heater.

The Benefits of Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters are becoming the product of choice over the traditional hot water heaters.  Consider the several advantages of a tankless water heater.

Benefits of Tankless Water Heaters

Energy Efficient

tankless water heatersTankless heaters use up less energy as it heats up water only when you turn the faucet or shower on. This means more savings for your household, aside from the fact that you are helping the environment in conserving energy. Imagine needlessly keeping about 50 gallons of water hot in a storage tank versus using heat only as needed. This translates to earth-friendly efficiency. Energy savings will be about 30-50% more.  You also enjoy a steady hot water supply as needed.

Space Saving

Tankless water heaters take up significantly less space than units with tanks, thus you can be more flexible with the installation.  You can install a small water heater in a closet or under a cabinet, nearer to area of usage.

Cleaner, Safer Water

When you use water from a tank, you are using stored water with a possible build-up of scale and rust. This does not have to be the case with a tankless water heater.

Reliable and Durable

Tankless water heaters last much longer by 5-10 years, even more.

As for the disadvantages of a tankless water heater, the main concern is the initial, out-of-the-pocket cost. The tankless types can cost up to three times more. There might also be additional installation costs, like adding a natural gas line for gas heaters or possibly installing additional circuit for electric models.

Considering these costs may be overwhelming, but consider the long-term benefits.  With a traditional storage tank heater, you might have to replace it again in approximately 10 years. This plus the monthly cost add-on to your energy bill by 40% more. Tankless water heaters give significantly more years of use.

If you are considering a tankless water heater, contact us now.

Home Maintenance & Efficient AC Performance for Air Conditioner Columbus, Ohio

Your Home Air Conditioner Maintenance

Home air conditioner maintenance will not only help in lowering your energy bill, but will also extend the life of your AC unit. It will also save you from costly repairs with just more diligent care of your AC. Before doing any preventive maintenance, remember to shut off electrical supply to your unit. This will ensure safety when working around the air conditioner’s moving parts.

Air Conditioner Filters

Filters Home Air Conditioner MaintenanceYou should change filters, or clean reusable filters, at least twice a year.  Ideally, this should be once before the cooling season begins and then before the heating season as well. Having dirty filters make your AC unit work harder since this reduces air flow and thus lower its efficiency.  If your location is in a dusty, populated area, you may need to change or clean your filter more often. A regular, monthly inspection of your AC’s filters will give you an idea whether you need cleaning or replacement twice a year or every two months. See a related article in preventative maintenance.

Condenser and Evaporator Coils

The filters help prevent dust, dirt, and debris from getting into your AC unit.  However, your AC’s condenser and evaporator coils will still gather dust over months and years of service.  The outdoor condenser unit collects dust and debris because a central fan sucks air from around it. This pulls dust all sorts of debris such as dead grass, dead leaves, and those floating “cotton” from dandelions and cottonwood trees.

With all these blocking the air flow into your unit, it lowers your AC’s cooling efficiency.  You can further help your unit by cleaning debris around the condenser and cutting foliage by at least 2 feet to allow enough air circulation around the condenser. Keeping the coils clean will help in the cooling efficiency and years of service of your AC.

Coil Fins

The coil fins are the fine metallic blades on the coils. These are fragile and can bend easily, and thus block air flow.  In such a case, there is a tool easily available in hardware stores called the “fin comb” which will straighten them back to nearly original condition.

Regular Check Up of Your AC Professional

Other than the ones mentioned above, there are some tasks that only your AC professional can do. Checking the refrigerant level is one.  Regular home air conditioner maintenance by your licensed AC technician will help in maintaining the efficiency and prolonging the years of service of your unit.