How to buy the best water tank heater for your home? Explore advantages, disadvantages and find the most popular sizes and manufacturers of the hot water tanks. Compare tank-type vs. tankless.
Tank water heaters are also known as storage tank type or cylinders. Gas water heaters with storage tanks are the most popular type for water heating in North America where a 50-gallon capacity is a commonly used size.
With the available capacities ranging from 20 gallons to over 100 gallons, water heater tanks are designed as whole-house systems so they can supply hot water to more than one fixture at a time. There are also water heaters with smaller storage tanks, but those are recommended for point-of-use applications. Water storage tank heaters are recommended for homes with constant demands.
Tank water heaters are using gas, electricity and solar energy for heating. As opposed to tankless heaters, the storage-tank type is a simple and economical device where the tank occupies most of the unit. The storage tank is insulated so the heated water can stay hot longer. Every unit made of metal has the anode rod, thermostat, dip tube, TPR valve, and drain valve.
Gas-powered water tank heaters also have a gas valve, burner assembly, gas combustion chamber and the flue baffle (vent).
Almost all new gas water heaters are equipped with the FVIR system that is designed to protect from accidental fire caused by flammable vapors. From the gas burner, through the tank and water stored inside, there is a flue tube that moves the gases out, either naturally (atmospheric vent units) or forced (power vent units).
Most of the gas water heaters are using a pilot light for lighting the main burner, while others that are more advanced, use a hot surface or electronic ignition.
Electric water tank heaters are the simplest units that utilize upper and lower heating elements for heating the water.
Solar water tank heaters are storage tanks that store heated water (from solar panels) with an addition of the heating elements, for backup heating.
The storage tank located inside the heater is where the cold water enters for heating and where hot water is stored for use. Incoming cold water is coming from home plumbing through the inlet tube or dip tube to the lower part of the tank.
Water is heated either by heating elements (electric type) or gas burner (gas type) and as it is becoming hot, it rises to the top from where it is going to, through the plumbing to the hot water tap (once it is open), or appliance, such as a dishwasher.
Every gallon of hot water that exits the water tank heater is then being replaced by cold water again through the dip tube. The thermostat, which measures the temperature of the water inside the tank, is what signals the heater to start heating by charging the heating element(s).
Choosing the right water tank heater results in sufficient amount of hot water for the whole household, convenience, comfort, and savings. This is what you should consider before buying:
Calculate the peak demand or the busiest one-hour usage period based on the numbers from below:
For the shower you need at least 20 gallons of hot water, for shaving - 2 gallons, hands and face washing - 4 gallons, food preparation - 5 gallons, automatic dishwasher – 14 gallons and so on. So, if you have calculated that you need 50 gallons of hot water, you would buy a 70-gallon water heater (70% is the available volume).
The First Hour Delivery and other info can be found on the Energy-Guide label.
What is the average cost of a tank-type water? Depends on where are you buying from; hardware store, contractors, online shopping...
In Canada heaters can cost you between $800 and $1200, while installation can cost between $300 and $400.
In the US, expect to pay approximately $1300 or higher for advanced models, and that includes a water heater, supplies and labor. According to homeadvisor.com installation cost for the standard tank-type is from $150 to $600.
As explained by networx.com the installation cost varies according to several factors:
An average cost to hire a plumber to repair a water heater, is between $100 and $160.
If you need more information, check out this article, where it explains tankless vs tank-type in details.
You cannot go wrong if you buy a tank-type water heater. They are affordable, utilize proven and safe technology, and can save significantly if you chose a condensing or high efficient model, such as Vertex from AO Smith or Polaris from American.
If you have to decide between electric and gas, go with the natural gas model. It is cheaper to use in the long run, and it heats water fast. Energy Star models are available from all manufacturers.