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Hot Water Heaters


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gas water heater schematic Hot water heaters are plumbing appliances that are used to heat water above its ambient temperature.  Most residential and commercial water heaters are fueled by electricity or gas.  Electric water heaters operate more efficiently, but gas water heaters often cost less to operate because natural gas is relatively inexpensive.  If you have a gas water heater, you should install a carbon monoxide detector and have all of your gas appliances inspected periodically for safety's sake.

Tank-type water heaters have a hot water storage tank where heated water is stored and available for use at any time.  When hot water is drawn from the tank, it is replaced by cooler water that must be heated before use.  It takes some time for the water in the tank to reach its thermostatically set temperature.  When buying a water heater, ask about the unit's "Rate of Recovery" to learn how fast it will heat water in the tank.

electric water heater A two-person household typically requires a 40 to 60 gallon water heater, while a five-person household may require a 60 to 80 gallon water heater to accommodate peak usage requirements.  If you have a large family or a whirlpool tub, consider buying a model with a larger tank, even though it may cost slightly more to operate.

Tankless water heaters, also known as "on demand" water heaters, have long been used in Europe and are now available in the USA.  More costly than tank-type water heaters, they can also be more efficient because they heat water only when it is being used rather than heating and storing water in a tank where its heat can gradually dissipate.  The heating coils in a tankless hot water heater turn on immediately when water begins to flow through them and turn off when the water flow stops.

tankless water heater internals On, you will find selected suppliers of both tank-type and tankless water heaters, as well as consumer information about hot water heater efficiency and operation.  Hard water can shorten the life of a water heater, so consider warranty issues more carefully if your water has high mineral content.  If you are in the market for a new water heater, you may wish to read the ACEEE's helpful article about energy-efficient water heating, as well as the U.S. DOE articles listed below, before making your hot water heater purchase.

Shop for Hot Water Heaters

  • Tankless Water Heaters
    Save money and use energy efficiently with on-demand water heaters.

Hot Water Heater Manufacturers

  • A. O. Smith Water Products
    Residential and commercial water heaters and boilers.
  • Rheem Water Heaters
    Learn about quality Rheem and Ruud water heaters.  Rheem offers residential water heater sizing information as well as a convenient tankless water heater sizing guide.
  • Bradford White
    Water heater products, consumer information, plumbing and heating contractor locator.
  • Raypak
    Commercial and residential hot water and heating products, pool and spa heaters.
  • Vaughn Manufacturing
    Offers a range of residential and commercial water heaters and water tanks.  "The future of water heating."
  • Rinnai
    Tankless water heaters are the focus of this informative website.
  • Bosch Water Heaters
    Supplier of tankless and point-of-use water heaters.

Water Heater Consumer Information

  • Energy-Efficient Water Heating
    This article provides you with information on how to reduce your home's water heating costs.
  • Choosing a Water Heater
    This U.S. Department of Energy article can help you select an energy-efficient water heater for your home.
  • How Water Heaters Work
    Provides a basic overview of water heater construction and operation.

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