5 Different Types of Water Heater (and how to know which model is the right one for you)

There are five types of water heater systems, some of which are more energy-efficient than others. However, the right one primarily depends on the size of your household, the available fuel or energy source, and your budget.

Patrick’s Hot Water, a Rocklin-based water heater and plumbing company, explains these in this article.


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Five Basic Types of Water Systems

Conventional storage water or storage tank

As its name suggests, it uses a reservoir of hot water that either runs on gas or electricity. This system is popular for two reasons: The upfront cost is lower than other systems and it is also a reliable unit.

Solar water heater

This system uses a renewable and clean energy source–the sun. Meanwhile, some states like California offer tax rebates to homeowners who use solar water heaters and solar panels.

If you live in a sunny region, solar water heaters may be a worthwhile investment long term, although the installation and the units come with high upfront costs.

Tankless water heater

Also called an on-demand water heater, it heats water directly without using a storage tank; this means you don’t have to worry about running low while others are using water at the same time.

A tankless water heater system is ideal for a large household that requires quick and efficient water heating. However, it comes with a high upfront cost.

Heat pump water heater

The system uses electricity to move heat from one place to another rather than generate heat directly for providing hot water. As a result, it is 2-3 times more energy efficient compared to standard electric resistance water heaters.

Tankless coil and indirect water heater

When a faucet is turned on, a coil which is installed in a furnace or boiler heats the water. In general, this system is ideal for people living in colder climates.


Factors that Determine the Best Water Heater for You


When choosing a water heater system, aside from the upfront cost, it’s also a good idea to know the average annual operating costs compared to other models. For instance, gas water heaters have a higher upfront cost than the electric versions, although they generally have a lower operating cost.

Size and capacity

Your water heater should meet your household needs. For instance, if you choose a conventional storage water system, choose a tank size that is enough for your family’s needs.

Fuel type and availability

About half of US households use natural gas for space and water heating because it is more affordable than other fuels. But over the years, solar water heaters have been gaining popularity in regions that get the most sunlight.

Energy efficiency

Because solar water heaters use renewable energy, they have the highest energy efficiency. But if you don’t live in a sunny region, you may consider other alternatives such as gas heaters, tankless heaters, and hybrid electric water heaters.

Note: A data released by the Environmental Protection Agency shows that water heaters are the second-highest source of energy usage in US households. Hence, experts suggest that consumers choose units with the ENERGY STAR label, which is the only government-backed symbol for energy efficiency.

Previous studies show that ENERGY STAR appliances use 10-50% less energy than conventional units.


To learn more about energy-efficient water heater systems, call Patrick’s Hot Water at (916) 824-5131. They also offer water heater repair, maintenance, and replacement, servicing the neighborhoods of Rocklin, Granite Bay, Roseville, Loomis, and Lincoln.


Patrick’s Hot Water also provides plumbing services to cover all your water-related needs.


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