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.
Tank water heaters are also known as storage tank type or cylinders. Gas water heaters with the storage tank are the most popular type for water heating in North America where 50-gallon capacity is the most used size.
With the available capacities from 20 gallons to over 100 gallons, water heater tanks are designed as the whole-house systems so they can supply hot water to more than one fixture at a time. Water storage tank heater is recommended for homes with the constant demands.
Tank water heaters are using gas, electricity and solar energy for heating. As opposed to tankless heaters, the storage-tank type is built very simply where the tank occupies most of the unit. Every unit, made of the metal, has the anode rod, thermostat, dip tube, TPR valve, and drain valve.
Almost all new gas water heaters are equipped with the FVIR system that is designed to protect from the accidental fire of the 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 the pilot light for lighting the main burner, while others, more advanced, are using the hot surface, for example.
Solar water tank heaters are storage tanks that store heated water (from solar panels) with an addition of the heating elements, for the backup heating.
The storage tank inside the heater is the place where the cold water enters for heating and where hot water is stored for use. Incoming cold water is coming from the home plumbing through the inlet tube or dip tube to the lower part of the tank.
Water is heated either by the 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 dishwasher.
Every gallon of hot water that exits the water tank heater is then being replaced by the 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.
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 a lot if you chose 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.