Call 602.661.9350

What Types of Water Heaters Are Used in Homes?

There are several types of water heaters used in homes in Phoenix, AZ. They may be selected based on fuel type, including electricity, fuel oil, natural gas, propane, solar energy, or geothermal energy, depending on cost and availability. Then, of course, a water heater must be the right size. This impacts overall energy usage and efficiency.

Also, aside from physical size, capacity, and the quantity of water heated (as determined by the appliance’s First Hour Rating), you want to consider the type to install. Here are the most common types of water heaters available for residential use:

Storage Tank Water Heaters

The conventional type, a tank-based water heater, remains the most popular. The amount of hot water available depends on the tank’s capacity. A large tank requires a significant amount of space, but it holds hot water until it is needed, and is insulated to keep its contents warm. Powered by electricity or natural gas, tank water heaters are available in capacities from 23 to 60 gallons or greater.

A temperature control valve opens to release heat when the water exceeds 120℉. Meanwhile, a pressure release valve opens if the pressure in the tank goes above 150 psi. While a tank water heater is easy to install, it requires regular maintenance to clean the tank of sediment and mineral scale.

Tankless Water Heaters

A tankless, or “on-demand”, water heater eliminates a bulky tank and heats water as it passes through super-heated coils. Installing the right-sized unit ensures it can keep up with demand. When selecting a tankless water heater, know your gallons-per-minute requirements based on the fixtures and appliances it serves.

A tankless water heater is small enough to fit in a closet and mounts on a wall, so saves space. It turns on only when needed, so saves on energy bills. A point-of-use water heater (available in tank/tankless models), can be used for a single fixture that’s far from the central water heater. It can also serve as a backup for an electric, gas, or solar water heater. 

Heat Pump Water Heaters

Also known as a hybrid water heater, a heat pump unit draws heat from the air or the ground, rather than heating water directly. It uses electricity to move heat, which requires as much as 60% less power than generating heat.

Maintaining a hybrid unit is similar to a conventional tank water heater. But it is much more energy and cost-efficient in the long run. However, the system can struggle in areas that are excessively cold for long periods. If you can afford it and live in a climate that’s relatively mild most of the year, a hybrid water heater can provide significant efficiency benefits.

Solar-Powered Water Heaters

A solar-powered system is the most efficient type of water heater. It uses energy, generated from roof-mounted solar panels, which is transferred to a closed-loop system. A heat-conductive material absorbs the energy and in turn heats the water in a tank. 

Solar-powered water heaters work best in warm, sunny climates like here in Phoenix, AZ. But most places do see cloudy days from time to time. There must be a natural gas or electricity source as a backup, so the system can continue to run. However, there are still efficiency and environmental benefits for those who invest in these advanced water heaters.

Condensing Water Heaters

These funnel exhaust from a natural gas system to heat water. The water is stored in a tank like in a conventional water heater. To funnel gas fumes, a coil is placed at the bottom of the tank. Most of the energy burned is done so in the heater or oven; little is used to heat water. A large tank can meet the needs of a whole family, while the system is quite efficient.

Tankless Coil Water Heaters

In this type of water heater, water flows through a heating coil or heat exchanger in the furnace or boiler. Electric, oil, or gas-fired, these tankless systems are highly efficient during cold months when the heating system is at its highest demand. They can function with forced air and hydronic or radiant floor heating systems.

Indirect Water Heaters

An indirect water heater is connected directly to a boiler or furnace. The heat exchanger is located in the water heater’s tank. This can be a highly efficient option if used with a high-efficiency boiler and the tank is well-insulated. Another benefit is that the water tank stores energy, meaning the furnace won’t have to turn on and off as much.

Smart Water Heaters

You can set up a smart water heater simply by installing the right type of thermostat. Or, you can install a tankless system to achieve the benefits of a smart appliance. Connected via Wi-Fi, smart water heaters can monitor temperature and make automatic adjustments, cycle water temperature to kill bacteria, and relay alerts when leaks are detected. The system can include features like a digital display, overheat protection, a pilot reset button, pilot light window, or an internal temperature/pressure relief valve. 

Contact Hays Cooling, Heating & Plumbing in Phoenix, AZ

A water heater is an important appliance and finding the right one for your home is important. Our team installs, repairs, and maintains all types of water heaters for residential and commercial clients in the Phoenix area. No matter what kind of service you need, our focus is always on quality. To learn more about or schedule water heaters and other plumbing services in your home, call 602-806-1192 today.

About the Author

Chris Hays

Founder of Hays Cooling, Heating & Plumbing

Chris and Stacia Hays, are the founders of Hays Cooling, Heating & Plumbing; a family operated HVAC company in Phoenix founded in 2001 that services both commercial and residential customers. Chris leads a team of certified technicians who have over 45 years of combined experience and has earned and A+ rating with the BBB and a strong five star rating online. Hays Cooling, Heating & Plumbing focuses on providing support to their customers every step of the way, with exceptional service and competitive prices. If you are looking for top-notch air conditioning and heating service, contact Hays today.