If you're in the market for a new water heating system, you might understandably be confused about what type of system to choose. The three types of systems--traditional water tank, tankless and solar--all have their distinct advantages and challenges. The system that's best for your household will be the one that best meshes with your family's lifestyle and budget.
Pros and cons of different types of water heating systems
1. Tankless. The chief reason for choosing a tankless water heating system is to save energy. Unlike a traditional water tank system that keeps hot water at the ready 24 hours a day, seven days a week, a tankless water heating system heats the water you need for bathing, cooking, laundry and other household uses on demand. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the average household can save $100 or more on their annual water heating bill by making the switch to tankless. However, tankless systems aren't necessarily a good fit for every household. The initial equipment and installation cost is considerably higher than a water tank system. In addition, tankless system work best when there are no more than two demands for hot water at the same time. If you have a large family, this may not be realistic.
2. Solar. Solar water heating systems help to reduce your household's carbon footprint by harnessing the energy from the sun via solar panels on your roof to heat water. Though the equipment for this type of system is also relatively expensive, you may qualify for a federal tax credit if you buy and have your system installed by the end of 2016. However, solar systems work best (obviously) in areas that have at least a little period of sunshine each day. They also require large solar panels to be mounted on your roof, something that's not always to homeowners' or neighborhood associations' liking.
3. Water tank. The major advantages to a traditional water tank system are the relatively low cost and easy installation. A water tank can also provide hot water to multiple outlets and the same time without sacrificing water pressure (up to the capacity of the tank.) The disadvantages of a water tank, in addition to the fact that it uses energy 24/7 to heat water, are the space necessary to house the tank and the potential for water damage if the tank should leak.
There's not one water heating system that's right for every household. Before you make your decision on what system to buy, it's wise to take a look at your hot water usage, the size of your household and your budget. Heating services companies, such as Allright Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning, can provide more information and advice for your situation.