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Compare Solar Water Heaters

Solar hot water heaters came in various shapes in sizes. You would be suprised by the amount of different water heaters there are in the system, a true nightmare for someone who cannot make a decision. Luckily, every single water heater falls in a category that describes its general features and perks. Below is a list of most of the different types of water heaters you will encounter. Hopefully this may help you make a more informed decision on what you need.

Electric Water Heaters
The typical electric unit is wired to a 220-volt circuit. To heat the water, the current passes through electrical-resistance heating elements—usually two, one at the middle of the tank and one at the bottom.
Power is delivered to each element through a thermostat—a switch that senses the water temperature. When the temperature drops, the switch closes to allow current flow, and it opens when the temperature reaches its preset limit. Thermostats have a dial for setting the maximum water temperature—generally between 130 degrees and 140 degreesF, or as low as about 120 degreesF for increased energy savings and scald protection.

Storage-tank hot water heaters
Most of the storage-tank water heaters are basically steel cylinders that have a cold water inlet pipe, which brings the cold water in. The water then gets heated inside the tank and is then carried out through the hot water pipe. Another pipe that protrudes out of the tank has the temperature and pressure relied valve, which opens in case either of them exceed the preset level. On top of that, you will also find a drain valve that is located near the bottom of the tank, and a control unit which is located on the tank to control the temperature of the water. In gas models, there is an option for controlling the pilot light.
Gas is the fuel of choice if you already have natural-gas service or can run a gas line to your home economically. Gas models cost more than electrics. But on the basis of national-average fuel costs, a gas water heater will cost you about half as much to run as a comparable electric model. Thus, a gas heater might amortize the up-front difference in cost in as little as a year. While you'll also find oil-fired storage heaters, they're relatively expensive, because they include the tank and an oil burner. That's why homes with oil heat typically use an electric water heater.

Tankless heaters
Instant hot water heaters, also known as tankless water heaters are usually the size of a suitcase. They heat water on demand, whenever needed, using an electric coil or natural gas. The water passes through the heat exchanger inside and gets heated using the heating apparatus. Hence, as a result, they eliminate the risk of tank failure and also cut down on energy lost which would happen due to reheating of the water, as done in storage-tank hot water heaters. What's more, they're expensive to buy and install, and include limitations on hot-water flow rates, a possible issue in large households. And cooler incoming water in winter typically means your hot water may not be as hot as you like.

Hybrid electric heaters
These water heaters are a combination of the electric storage-tank water heaters and a heat pump. The heat pump extracts the air from the surrounding and aids in the heating of the water. As a result, most of the hybrid electric water heater used about 60% less energy when compared to normal storage-tank electric hot water heaters. Although they cost more than electric-only water heaters, they are fairly similar to install and also pay back on a short time.
But hybrids also have their downsides. Because the heat pump is usually on top, they need as much as 7 feet clearance from floor to ceiling. You'll also need up to 1,000 cubic feet of uncooled space to capture enough heat from the air, along with a condensate pump (about $150) if there's no drain nearby. Hybrid heaters are noisier than conventional storage-tank heaters, exhaust cool air, and can rob some heated air in winter.