Water heaters are a necessary component of any habitable home, these systems come in all different shapes, sizes, and styles. This article will detail the different water heating systems and common issues found with water heaters during the course of a home inspection.
Different Water Heating Units:
Stand Alone Water Heater– Many people are familiar with the typically cylindrical stand-alone water heating units. These systems typically come in size increments if 40, 50 or 75 gallons, high efficiency units can directly vent to the exterior and low efficiency systems vent into a chimney. Manufactures typically rate standalone hot water heaters for 10-12 years.
Tankless Water Heater– Tankless water heaters are a newer water heating system that provides hot water on demand. These systems are typically wall mounted and take up much less space than a stand-alone unit. These systems are extremely energy efficient, According to Energy.gov, tankless water heaters can be anywhere from 24-34% more energy efficient than traditional water heaters in homes that use 41 or fewer gallons of hot water per day. Also, tankless water heaters have a much longer life expectancy when compared to a standalone unit. Typical standalone units are only rated by the manufacture for 10-12 years as tankless water heaters are rated by the manufactures for 15–20-year life expectancy.
Indirect Hot Water Heater– Indirect hot water heaters use an external heat source such a boiler or furnace to heat the water and a storage tank to hold the hot water. These systems are more energy efficient than a stand-alone hot water heater because they reduce the amount of heat lost through standby heat loss. These systems are also easier to maintain because there is only one system to take care of and less moving parts. These systems, typically on average are able to produce more hot water than a regular standalone hot water heater.