Types of Water Heater Systems
As you can understand from the history of water heaters, there are a variety of methods to heat water and circulate it throughout your home. From conventional gas powered storage tank water heaters to a tankless solar powered water heater, the modern innovations for effective hot water circulation are almost endless. Keep reading to understand the difference between different water heater system types, so you can understand which is the best option for you and your home.
Conventional Storage Tank Water Heater
One of the more conventional home appliances in existence, storage tank water heaters are quite common in a lot of homes, and there is a good chance that it is the water heater you have. It works by storing water in a large tank, usually using a gas burner to heat the tank. The tank is insulated so when the water is heated within the tank, it remains warm until it is needed somewhere in the house. A storage tank water heater is fairly affordable and pretty easy to install, with a typical lifespan of around twelve years. However, during those years, you will need to provide annual maintenance in order to maximize that lifespan, including flushing and cleaning out the tank, and removing the sediment and mineral scaling in order to limit corrosion. With a storage tank style, it’s also important to note that you are limited to how much hot water you have access to. The phrase “don’t take all the hot water” is very relevant here, because if you have a small tank or use an excessive amount in a small period of time, you may have to wait until the tank is refilled and reheated.
Tankless Water Heater
One of the more modern innovations for water heaters, tankless water heaters are starting to become more and more popular. And with good reason. Instead of a storage tank, pipe coils are super heated and then filled with water, heating the water very quickly and providing it on-demand. This is much more efficient than a storage tank style because you are only expending energy to heat water when you actually need to use it, allowing for immediate and consistent hot water access, even in a larger household. However, a tankless system will still require some preventative maintenance to extend its lifespan, and tankless system parts are smaller and more difficult to access. A tankless system also requires a much larger initial investment, and may require a larger gas line or a more electric power usage to work in your home.
Heat Pump Water Heater
A heat pump water heater is a highly efficient type of water heater system, as well as being pretty unique in its operation. To heat and circulate water throughout your home, a heat pump uses heat in the air and in the ground to heat the water. Electricity is only used to circulate the heat from the ground or air into the water, instead of being used to generate heat. Heat pump water heaters use up to 60% less electricity than a conventional style water heater, which means you can save a fair amount of money on your electricity bill. While it’s incredible energy and cost efficient in the long run, it still uses a tank that requires cleaning and preventative maintenance. You will need a good amount of room for this style of water heater, potentially up to eight feet of vertical clearance, and with the nature of its heat source, a heat pump will not work as well in excessively colder spaces or climates.
Solar Powered Water Heater
As the name suggests, a solar powered water heater uses solar energy to heat up water for your home. It’s probably the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly option out there, relying on roof-mounted solar panels for energy, which is transferred into a closed loop system with a conductive material that heats the tank. Like a lot of water heater models, a solar powered water heater uses a tank which will require maintenance and care. A solar powered water heater is especially good for folks who already have a solar panel set up, or for folks in sunny climates. But this system also requires a backup source of energy, so you can still have hot water on cloudy days. And a solar powered water heater system will also be quite expensive, so it may take a while before you can get a reliable return on your investment
Condensing Water Heater
A condensing water heater is another highly energy efficient water heater system, as it recycles unused gas in your home to heat the water. This option is especially useful if your home primarily uses natural gas for energy, as this system utilizes heated exhaust from your natural gas system. The gas fumes are channelled through a coil at the bottom of the tank in order to heat the water in the tank, using very little energy that isn’t already being burned somewhere else in your home, like an oven or a heater. The tank will require preventative maintenance and cleaning like most of the other options on this list, and generally these styles of water heater don’t come in small versions. And if your home doesn’t rely heavily on natural gas for energy and power, then this type of water heater probably isn’t for you.
While this isn’t necessarily a type of water heater in and of itself, it’s an important accessory to consider if you have a water heater that uses a tank. An expansion tank can provide a variety of benefits to your water heater system. The extra smaller tank attaches to your current one, and essentially provides an outlet for pressure and water buildup. When water is heated, it undergoes thermal expansion, which expands the volume of water and increases the pressure against the walls of the tank. An expansion tank provides more space within your water heater tank system and allows the pressure to be more evenly circulated
Common Problems with Water Heaters
As we have discussed, water heaters are essential for our day to day lives and function. Whether it’s a solar paneled model or a conventional one, all are very important to our households and our routines. So what happens when there is a problem with your water heater? How will you know until it’s too late? Keep reading to understand a little more about common water heater problems, how you can recognize potential problems, and how Cupertino Plumbing can help you.
This is the worst kind of problem to experience. Your turn on your faucet, and instead of clean and clear potable hot water coming out, it’s slightly rust colored, or even a viscous consistency. It’s important to understand that rust is a sign of corrosion, and the rust color you are seeing is coming from your deteriorating water heater tank. As water is heated and filled in the tank year after year, it oxidizes the metal in your tank, which makes rust develop on the seams of your tank, and result in rust-colored water coming out. This process will happen if your water heater is at the end of its lifespan, and it will require a water heater tank replacement.
Popping and Crackling Noises
This one is also common and a fairly noticeable problem your water heater can undergo in its lifetime. As your water heater operates, it will undoubtedly make some noises. But there are certain noises you want to listen for that will indicate bigger problems. Crackling or loud pops indicate that sediment has built up either in the tank or around the tank. And when this sediment comes into contact with your heating agent of choice, it can react and make these crackling and popping noises. If you hear these noises, your water heater tank is deteriorating and will require replacement.
This problem is a little more subtle, as it only occurs directly in or around your water heater system, which means that catching this problem before it becomes a bigger issue will require some consistent inspection. Your water heater might experience a pooling of water around the base or on the ground near it. This is an indication that your water heater is failing. Whether it’s a leaking tank or faulty parts, this is something that needs to be addressed immediately, whether it’s repairable or needs to be replaced.
While water heaters are inanimate objects, they still have an effective lifespan like any human being. They will provide an effective service in your home for years at a time, but after so much usage over a long period of time, wear and tear is inevitable and eventually, your water heater will hit an age where it just can’t function properly anymore, and one of these potential issues above are more likely to occur. Inspect and maintain your water heater twice a year to get the full lifespan out of it, but also be prompt about getting it replaced when it’s time has come.
Our Water Heater Services
Now that you have a basic understanding of how water heaters work, and the potential problems that can arise for their functioning, you can read how Cupertino Plumbing’s water heater services can support you and your home. Keep reading to learn more about our water heater services and how our team can provide for you when you need it.
Let’s hear what our customer had to say…
We had Cupertino Plumbing replace all of our old galvanized and cast iron drain pipes, along with installing a new water heater and two new toilets. We are very happy with the work they did. It was a major multi-day project that required cutting holes in walls and ceilings. They were pleasant, professional, and responsive. Everything works great now, and the places where they patched the walls and ceilings look nice. A really good job. We definitely will call them for any future plumbing work.
This is a fantastic company (Cupertino Plumbing), I received excellent service from Mario. We texted back and forth on various questions I had regarding my kitchen water filter system and the airgap line for my dishwasher; he was always responsive. My previous plumber walked into our home without putting on booties and was unorganized, but Mario always put booties on his shoes which I appreciated, he was knowledgeable, organized, did very high quality work, communicates well, smiled a lot and was happy, and is now my go to guy for all future plumbing needs. Mario is best plumber I’ve known.
Cupertino Plumbing just replumbed our whole house and rebuilt our drainage system. They were efficient, communicative, and timely every day and went to great lengths to keep things clean and tidy. Every afternoon they would set expectations about the next day and every day they did what they say they would do which we very much appreciated. For big plumbing jobs they quality of workmanship and service can’t be beat.
Cupertino Plumbing is not the cheapest out there. They are on the competitive or expensive side. The reason to call them is for their outstanding professionalism, and the fact that they have a lot of people who can be there really soon when you need them.
Very good company. You can’t go wrong using this plumbing company for all your plumbing needs. No job too small. Their years of experience are very helpful in problem solving.
A rare instance of a plumbing company that is organized and acts very professionally. They take your calls promptly, follow-up, make sure to send you the best technician for your problem. Strong recommendation from me!