Last week, we started looking into multiple hot water heater options that you can choose from to find the perfect unit that is the ideal fit for your hot water needs in terms of capacity, functionality, energy-efficiency, space, and cost.
Previously we covered Tankless Water Heater, Conventional Storage Tank Water Heater, Solar Powered Water Heater, and Condensing Water Heater, so now let us have a look at the remaining options that you are left with.
Heat Pump Water Heater (Hybrid Water Heater)
Hybrid water heaters are costly but offer a great return on investment as they consume 60% less energy than conventional water heaters, which helps lower your utility bills.
These units derive heat from the air or ground around them, making them more energy-efficient but an impractical choice for cold regions. Also, placement is another issue with them. You can’t place heat pump water heaters in the basement or garage or anywhere in the cold, and the spot you choose should have a vertical space of around 8ft.
Combined Space and Water Heating System
The combined space and water heating unit, also known as the ‘combi’ system, is perfect for homes with low requirements.
These specialized units consume the same amount of gas as a gas water heater and forced air furnace, so instead of maintaining two separate systems, you can get a combi. It combines an optimized hydronic air handler with a high-efficiency water heater to offer dual function, which will allow you to cut down on your maintenance expenses.
The air handler has a large fan coil installed in the ductwork to enable quick and efficient space heating. The small pump circulates the water from the boiler and coil via the in-floor piping for radiant or floor heating. This unit also has a direct or powered combustion vent to prevent gas spillage.
Since both operations of the space and water heating system are separate, the functionality of one cannot be used to determine the other’s performance.
Also, the initial cost of this heater can be too much for some people.
Combined Space and Water Heating System with a Hydronic Boiler
Unlike the combi system, this unit comes with a hydronic boiler instead of a water heater and offers different configurations depending on the model. Some systems allow simultaneous heating of water and space, while others enable separate functions.
Also, it has a space-saving, compact design with built-in parts for outdoor reset control, auxiliary pump connections, and recirculation function, so you don’t need to buy and maintain various devices for each function.
This heating system is also known as combi-boilers or segregated heating systems; it directly draws the water from the mains to eliminate storage tanks’ need. The hydronic boiler is the heat source for this system, and a heat exchanger is used to transfer the energy to the water. Additionally, this unit features a flow control valve to maintain a constant temperature level of the water.
This user-friendly, compact, and energy-efficient system is designed to reduce the number of appliances used and the energy consumed. On top of that, you can get the latest combination boiler model with a tankless water heater design and full-energy saving power to stop unnecessary water heating when you are away, allowing you to bring down your power bills by 90%.
However, this system is not a practical option for large households with a high demand for warm water since there is no storage tank or back-up reservoir as the boiler is getting water directly from the mains, meaning it needs more time to heat the water.
Also, in some countries, some laws require you to have a double-wall heat exchanger to use such heating techniques. This ensures there is no cross-contamination between the water in the boiler heating loops and portable water.
We are at the end of the list, and by now, you probably have a good idea about the characteristics of different water heaters. Just keep in mind that now the only factors affecting your choice are the water heater cost and model.
Bill’s Plumbing & Sewer Inc. is a fully licensed, bonded, and insured plumbing company that provides water heater installation, maintenance, and replacement to residential and commercial projects in Wilmette, IL. Click here to get your free estimate.