Choosing a Water Heater

9 Jul 2014
When purchasing a water heater consider, what type of fuel does it use; electrical or solar, where is it going to be placed like the bathroom, washroom or garage and what is the storage type, is it tankless or storage tanks.

Tired of taking cold showers? Then you need a new water heater, selecting a new water heater is not as difficult as you may think. Here are the three questions that you need to ask yourself before you make a purchase. 

What type of fuel does it use?

In the Caribbean our water heaters are mostly fuelled by electricity or solar power. You need to examine the pros and cons of all these fuel choices in order to figure out which one suits your lifestyle.

Electricity Fuelled Water Heaters: These type of water heaters can be installed anywhere and are quite easy to handle. Electricity fuelled water heaters also heat extremely fast and have a long life expectancy. However, there are some disadvantages to using an electric water heater, although electricity is quite cheap. They can only operate with electricity hence the name, so in the case of a power outage, you may have to take a cold shower. Also there can be potential danger of a short circuit on fuse blow-off.

Solar Fuelled Water Heaters: These type of water heaters are the most environmentally friendly. They require a bit more investment upfront however, there are grants available to assist with cost, plus you will reap the saving in the long run. The sun is free and that is the fuel needed to operate these units, this results in lower monthly bills. They are great for climates that receive a lot of sunshine however, if you live in a place that has very little sunshine this will be very inefficient. These tanks take up a lot of space in bathrooms, they also require much more equipment for installation, which means more maintenance. The tanks can also get really hot so their location has to be planned accordingly so as to not cause any accidents.

Where will it be placed?

Before you purchase your water heater, you need to consider the space. Measure the height and width to make sure that the space you wish to install it is suitable. You can pay a professional to install your water heater or you can take on the project yourself. Whatever you choose to do, you can utilize the extra space in your bathroom, washroom, garage or if you feel like taking on another DIY project you can build a special outdoor enclosure to serve as a house for your water heater.

What is the storage type?

Types of water heaters.

Tankless Water Heaters: These are also known as on demand water heaters. They don't store any water but rather they warm water only when needed, this saves energy as water doesn't have to remain constantly heated. However, with this kind of heater, water may take a moment to heat and flow, which can be inconvenient. You don't have to designate any floor space for this type of heater because they are space saving and fit almost anywhere, so it is perfect if you live in a small space.

Storage Tanks:The best type of water heater tank to purchase are storage tanks. They have an insulated tank where water is heated and stored until you need it. They provide instant hot water and hold enough water to supply the average household. Storage tanks have a life expectancy of 10 to 12 years and you can run many appliances concurrently, meaning that you can shower, do your laundry and run your dishwasher all at once. There are storage tanks that can be fuelled by  electricity or solar energy. The dark side of storage tanks is that you can actually run out of hot water because the tanks have a set storage capacity.


Also read "Choosing a Water Tank".