There are two principal kinds of water heaters: tankless and tank. Tankless water heaters, also known as “demand” water heaters, produce a continual supply of hot water. Tank water heaters, also called “storage” water heaters, only hold a limited supply a hot water.
Tank Water Heaters: The tank water heater is the most common type of water heater. Storage water heaters have an internal water tank that holds a supply of water, typically from 30 to 50 gallons for most residential uses. The water in the tank is heated by either an electric heating element or a gas burner. When a faucet is opened and hot water is drawn the water in the heater tank is replaced with cold water and the element or burner comes on to reheat the water to the preset temperature. During normal use, such as when running the dishwasher or taking a shower, the water in the tank is generally not depleted. However, if demand is especially high, such as a large family taking one shower after another, the supply of hot water in the tank can become exhausted. If the water in the storage tank does become depleted it will generally require approximately 20 to 30 minutes for the water heater to “recover,” or to reheat the water in the tank.
Tankless Water Heater: As the name implies, tankless water heaters do not have an internal storage tank, but use an electric heating element or gas burner to heat water as it passes through the heater. Because water is heated only as it is needed, on demand, tankless water heaters produce an unending supply of hot water. Early models of tankless water heaters were not very energy efficient, requiring more energy to heat the same amount of water as a tank heater; however, that is no longer the case. Through new design techniques and innovations newer tankless water heaters are actually more efficient than storage, or tank, models. Modern tankless water heaters can often reduce the energy needed to heat water by as much as 30 percent.
Does your Columbia home need a new water heater installed? Give us a call today at (803) 513-5749.