Did you know that heating water is the second largest use of energy in the average American home? Hot water heaters consume significant energy in commercial and residential applications, too. Natural gas water heaters – the efficient choice
Switching to a natural gas water heater from an all-electric has the potential to halve this energy expense. That’s a big deal. Especially when natural gas water heaters heat water twice as fast! Natural gas water heaters are the efficient choice.
5 Types of Natural Gas Water Heaters
Storage Water Heaters
The most common type of water heater consists of a large insulated storage tank where water is heated in advance and then available for use when needed. As hot water is removed from the top of the tank, cold water enters the tank at the bottom. The disadvantage of a storage water heater is that smaller tanks can run out of hot water if too much is used at one time and larger tanks use more energy.
Tankless Water Heaters
Instantaneous (or tankless) water heaters heat water on demand as it moves through the system. Because water is only heated when needed, this type of appliance is incredibly efficient and it’s impossible to run out of hot water as long as usage does not exceed the number of gallons that can be heated per minute.
Combination Water/Space Heater
Combination water heating/space heating units are compact systems used in smaller residences to combine hot water heating with ambient heating.
Hydronic or Boiler Systems
A hydronic system consists of a gas boiler that uses steam for space heating but also features a long copper coil filled with water to absorb heat and provide hot water to the building.
Indirect Water Heater
Essentially the same technology as a boiler system, an indirect water heater includes a dedicated storage tank for hot water instead of copper coils.
Installation and Venting
One difference between an electric and gas appliance is that all natural gas water heaters must be vented to the outdoors for safe operation. Burning natural gas directly on site is far more efficient in terms of energy consumption, but it does create combustion fumes that need to be removed from the building.
The 3 types of venting include:
- Atmospheric venting: The most common method is to use the heat of flue gas to rise up a vent pipe or chimney. This technique requires no fan or mechanical equipment.
- Direct venting (also called horizontal venting): When a chimney is not available, the vent can be installed directly through an adjacent wall.
- Power venting: When a natural gas water heater cannot be placed near to an exterior wall, an electric fan or blower can push or pull exhaust outdoors.
Choosing a New Natural Gas Water Heater
Whether a new natural gas water heater is for residential or commercial use, the total cost of owning and operating the equipment should always include the following three components:
- The initial purchase price
- The expected cost of repairs and maintenance
- Average operating costs (estimated annual costs are listed on the yellow Energy Guide label attached to new appliances)
The most cost-effective appliance over its lifespan is typically not the one with the lowest price tag. Cheaper natural gas water heaters are less reliable and more prone to damage or early failure. They’re also less likely to provide peak energy efficiency.
Do your due diligence to look at the full picture when selecting the right natural gas water heater for your application. If you’re wanting to learn more, visit our contact us page here.