- Conventional storage water heaters offer a ready reservoir (storage tank) of hot water.
A single-family storage water heater offers a ready reservoir -- from 20 to 80 gallons -- of hot water. It operates by releasing hot water from the top of the tank when you turn on the hot water tap. To replace that hot water, cold water enters the bottom of the tank, ensuring that the tank is always full.
Conventional storage water heater fuel sources include natural gas, propane, fuel oil, and electricity. Learn more about fuel types available when selecting a new water heater.
- Tank-less or demand-type water heaters heat water directly without the use of a storage tank.
Tank-less water heaters, also known as demand-type or instantaneous water heaters, provide hot water only as it is needed. They don't produce the standby energy losses associated with storage water heaters, which can save you money. Here you'll find basic information about how they work, whether a tank-less water heater might be right for your home, and what criteria to use when selecting the right model.
- Heat pump water heaters move heat between two places instead of generating direct heat to provide hot water.
Heat pump water heaters use electricity to move heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly. Therefore, they can be two to three times more energy efficient than conventional electric resistance water heaters. To move the heat, heat pumps work like a refrigerator in reverse
- Solar water heaters use the sun's heat to provide hot water.
Solar water heating systems include storage tanks and solar collectors. There are two types of solar water heating systems: active, which have circulating pumps and controls, and passive, which don't.
- Tankless coil and indirect water heaters use a home's space heating system to heat water.
A tank-less coil water heater provides hot water on demand without a tank. When a hot water faucet is turned on, water is heated as it flows through a heating coil or heat exchanger installed in a main furnace or boiler. Tank-less coil water heaters are most efficient during cold months when the heating system is used regularly but can be an inefficient choice for many homes, especially for those in warmer climates.
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