There are several ways to provide hot water to your home and they each have their own advantages and disadvantages. There are also numerous factors that affect the cost, installation, and what type of system you choose including the size of your home, your water heating needs, pre-existing installations, and regional differences such as local fuel prices. Even this list of hot water tanks and water heating systems below is far from exhaustive. Solar hot water tanks, for example, can be a great addition in select areas. The best way to know what you need and what your options are is to talk to a hot water contractor.
Tankless Water Heating System:
This system is the cheapest in terms of operation, but isn’t without other advantages as well. Because these systems heat water on the spot, there’s essentially an unlimited amount of hot water, albeit at a slow flow rate. This slow flow rate means the temperature of the water can fluctuate during use. If you’re in the shower while someone flushes the toilet, the water in the shower can suddenly jump to uncomfortable or dangerous levels.
Hot Water Booster Tank:
A hot water booster tank is an addition to the basic tankless water heating system. The booster tank increases the performance of the system, but is more expensive to run. You should probably also hire a professional to install a booster tank. Improper installation will render it ineffective. Keep in mind, too, that even with a booster tank, you may still run the risk of scalding water.
Hot Water Storage Tank:
Hot water storage tanks are the traditional water heaters found in many homes. They typically heat water using gas. These are less efficient than their tankless counterparts, but they are typically less expensive on the front end. These systems generally require less maintenance and can offer more reliable hot water to your home.
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Hot Water Tank Insulation
Hot water tank insulation is a great idea to reduce the tank’s energy demands. For a negligible price, you can cut your water heating cost by as much as 10%. An insulation jacket is wrapped around your tank to produce the necessary insulation. Be careful, though, to leave your thermostat uncovered and to keep your water set no higher than 130 degrees to reduce the risk of damage to your wiring. Insulating the pipes will also increase your energy savings and can help your hot water last longer for homeowners who like to take extended showers. Placing a rigid insulation board under your hot water tank can double total insulating effect, but this insulation usually needs to be installed with the water tank.
If you’re not sure if you need insulation, check it by placing your hand on the tank. If it feels warm, you could probably benefit from an insulation jacket. Installing the insulation is a simple project for an electric hot water tank, but if you own a gas or oil-fueled tank, you should probably hire a professional to ensure safe installation.