Choosing a Water Heater
Choosing a Water Heater
No matter what size Cozy Home you decide to build, you will need a hot water heater to heat the water going to your sinks, bath or shower. You have a lot to consider when selecting a new water heater for your tiny home. You should choose a water heating system that will not only provide enough hot water for the house, but that will heat the water efficiently which will save you money. You will also need to consider the different types of water heaters available, determine the right size heater as well as the fuel source for your home.
Types of Water Heaters
Conventional storage water heaters
These types of water heaters offer a ready reservoir (storage tank) of hot water that is supplied by a cold water container or a cold water tap. This supplies a steady supply of water for a certain amount of time. Unfortunately, if the tank runs out, the hot water will run out until it can be heated again.
On-demand (tankless or instantaneous) water heaters
On-demand water heaters do not have a tank and the water is heated directly from the source for a continuous supply. The rate at which they produce is limited by the thermodynamics of heating water from available fuel supplies.
Heat pump water heaters
A heat pump usually heats or cools a home, but they can also be used to heat water in either a stand-along water heating system or as a combination water and space heating system. Heat pump water heaters use electricity to move heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly. Therefore, they can be two to three times more energy efficient than conventional electric resistance water heaters. To move the heat, heat pumps work like a refrigerator in reverse.
Solar water heaters
Solar water heaters—also called solar domestic hot water systems—use the sun’s heat to provide hot water. Solar water heating systems include storage tanks and solar collectors. There are two types of solar water heating systems: active, which have circulating pumps and controls, and passive, which don’t. Most solar water heaters require a well-insulated storage tank. Solar storage tanks have an additional outlet and inlet connected to and from the collector. In two-tank systems, the solar water heater preheats water before it enters the conventional water heater. In one-tank systems, the back-up heater is combined with the solar storage in one tank. Three types of solar collectors are used for residential applications: the flat-plate collector, the integral collector-storage system and the evacuated-tube solar collector.
Tankless coil and indirect water heaters
Another efficient solution is a tankless coil or indirect water heater. This system uses the home’s space heating system to heat water. A tankless coil water heater uses a heating coil or heat exchanger installed in a main furnace or boiler. Whenever a hot water faucet is turned on, the water flows through the heat exchanger. These water heaters provide hot water on demand without a tank, like a demand water heater, but because they rely on the furnace or boiler to heat the water directly, tankless coil water heaters work most efficiently during cold months when the heating system is used regularly. Indirect water heaters offer a more efficient choice for most homes, even though they require a storage tank. An indirect water heater uses the main furnace or boiler to heat a fluid that’s circulated through a heat exchanger in the storage tank. The energy stored by the water tank allows the furnace to turn off and on less often, which saves energy.
When selecting the best type and model of water heater for your home, you also need to consider the following:
Fuel type, availability and cost
The fuel type or energy source you use for water heating will not only affect the water heater’s annual operation costs but also its size and energy efficiency.
To provide your household with enough hot water and to maximize efficiency, you need a properly sized water heater.
To maximize your energy and cost savings, you want to know how energy efficient a water heater is before you purchase it.
Before you purchase a water heater, it’s also a good idea to estimate its annual operating costs and compare those costs with other less or more energy-efficient models.