Articles - Written by Nancy on Tuesday, October 18, 2011 11:21 - 0 Comments
A Water Heater Is A Water Heater Is a Water Heater– Not!!!
The Federal Government adopted the FVIR (flammable vapor ignition resistant) technology almost 10 years ago. It’s added a considerable amount to the price of a gas heater. Different manufacturers have developed their own version and as long as it met the standard, it was approved. In several heaters, it made the unit taller to incorporate the FVIR technology.
We’ve also seen the rise in steel, copper and brass prices. Added to all of that, we have increased efficiency standards. This has led us to look at the different types of models that have become available on the market. Several of the different types have been available before, but have been re-engineered to be more efficient.
Basic gas water heaters are available in Natural and Propane gas. There are also oil-fired types available. Most of these heaters come with a six-year warranty and several can be upgraded to a 10 year warranty for an extra fee. The government requires minimum performance efficiency standards, but there are higher efficiency models available to choose from. Many of the models you see at the big box stores for a lower price have lower efficiency numbers. We’ve only just begun!
Gas heaters can be the standard vent type (up a chimney) or power vent type (out the side of your home). The power vent cannot be vented out the old chimney pipe. We can get a lot more technical here but for this article, we’ll keep it simple.
Staying with the tank type heaters, there is of course the standard electric heater and the electric heat pump water heater. The heat pump heater can give off cool dry air as a
by-product while heating the water very efficiently. Let’s not also forget the solar-powered heaters with the electric backup elements for those cold or overcast days. These heaters still have a pretty decent government rebate on them.
Now we get into the hybrid models that are gas-fired. The internal venting gets some great efficiency numbers and a higher output of hot water. They also come with a higher price tag. Stick with me here we haven’t run out of options yet.
How about a tankless heater? The gas models are used most often for the entire house, because electric models often require extensive revamping of the electrical system. Gas tankless heaters can be very efficient during operation while delivering a non-stop supply of hot water. It is necessary to properly size the heater to ensure an adequate flow of water. Some installations require more than one heater. Sizing and installation are important for a proper result. Tankless heaters can be serviced and virtually all of the parts can be replaced without the need to replace the complete unit. The unit hangs on a wall freeing up valuable floor space. These heaters are generally vented out the side of the building as well.
How about a combination of a tankless and a hybrid with a small tank-type heater? These heaters attempt to accomplish a steady supply of hot water while at the same time eliminating the need for additional re-circulation of water and the sandwich effect of cold and hot water.
There is also a water heater that runs off of your boiler and heats the domestic water through a heat exchanger.
With all of the options available, it’s easier to see why water heaters have risen in price as well as in efficiency. It’s up to you to choose which water heater you prefer, however, I strongly recommend working with a licensed plumber who has the knowledge to help you in the decision process and in performing a legal installation.
S&K Pump & Plumbing Inc.