What is a Water Heater?
Water heaters are devices used to heat and store water. They are typically used at home.
How Does a Water Heater Work?
Water heaters can either be electric or fuel fired. The best fuel-fired ones typically use gasoline. The tanks are designed with pipes to bring in cold water and others to take out the hot water. The supply pipes are positioned at the bottom of the tank, and the hot water delivery pipes take water from the top.
The containers also have temperature and pressure relief valves, and these open up when the temperature and pressure in the tank get excessively high.
The valve will help to notify you whenever there is a problem with the heater. You can place a bucket at the other end of the valve so that you can quickly get notified when the heater is faulty. Water heaters also have to store hot water. To make sure they store the hot water effectively, the tanks are designed with insulative materials.
Advantages and Applications
Water heaters are installed in homes across the United Kingdom. They help to ensure that you get hot water whenever you need it. You will not have to wait for 10 minutes for your shower water to get hot, and you will also not need to clean up your utensils to boil some water for your bath. The heaters are best for people who have to go to work very early in the morning.
Traditional heaters take a few minutes to heat your water, and that means you will have to run the water for some time before it eventually gets hot. This can be very wasteful. With these heaters, the water will always be hot. For this reason, water heaters can help you save water in your house. If you are worried about the state of the environment, you should consider installing heaters.
What Types of Water Heaters are there?
Water heaters have advanced significantly since they were first invented. Now, there are many different types of heaters, and they all have their good and bad reviews.
Here are the five main types of water heaters:
Conventional storage tank heaters
This is one of the best and most common types of heaters, and that means you are highly likely to be familiar with it. These types of water heaters typically receive the best reviews as they are affordable and easy to install. They are designed with storage tanks. It is better to purchase heaters that have higher capacities as you may need to use a lot of hot water regularly.
Tankelss/ on-demand heaters
These heaters do not have any storage tanks. Instead, they have coils that fill with water whenever you need hot water. The water is heated as it flashes through the pipes. It is important to go for an on-demand water heater that matches your water usage.
Heat pump heaters
These heaters are quite rare, but they are the best for people who want to save the planet. They use electricity to move energy from the air or ground, and this energy will then be used to heat the water. These heaters can use up to 60% less electricity than the other models.
Solar powered heaters
These are the best for people who already have solar panels installed on their roofs. They may require back up plans since solar energy is not always reliable.
Condensing water heaters
If you primarily heat your home with natural gas, you can consider installing condensing water heaters. These heaters will be the best in terms of energy efficiency. They use the unused fumes from your home to heat the water. These heaters typically come with large tanks.
The Big Water Heater Buyers Guide
Many people only shop for new heaters when their old water heaters break down completely. This puts them in a rush and forces them to pick whichever product the store attendant recommends. You should consider shopping for the best heater slowly so that you can review the pros and cons of each product. Here are some common issues you need to consider:
Size of tank
The tank can be too big or too small for your family. Usually, condensing water heaters come with very large tanks that would be unsuitable for most modern families. With the other types, you can request for a tank that is in the best size for your family. Also, make sure you consider your water usage.
Some families may be small, but they habitually consume a lot of water regularly. The problem with small tanks is that they will only start heating the water again once one tank gets depleted. That can take a very long time.
If you intend to buy the best natural gas or propane heater, you should read the local reviews to see what they would cost you. In many places, these tanks will have very high up-front costs, and you will also require health and safety ventilation. The benefit is that these heaters have low operating costs. On the other hand, electrical heaters have low initial costs but high operating costs.
Water heaters are usually the third largest consumers of energy at home. You should consider reducing your energy use as much as possible. This will not just offset your energy costs at the end of the month- it will also reduce your overall carbon footprint.
The storage tanks will need to be stored in your house. If you do not have sufficient storage space for a large water heater tank, you can simply go for the standard-sized ones.
Quality of the water tank
Many people leave negative reviews when they realise their heaters were not corrosion-resistant. You should note that the parts of your water heater will come into contact with your water and all the elements in your water.
Heaters can be very dangerous, especially when the temperature and pressure build up to extreme levels in the tank. The best heaters come with safety valves that help to relieve the temperature and pressure. A heater that does not have a safety valve could easily blow up in such cases.
Heaters come with first-hour ratings and gallons-per-minute ratings. The first rating is for storage tank water heaters and the second is for the tankless designs. The rating will tell you how much hot water the heater can deliver in a given period of time.
It is best to go for water heaters that have extensive warranties. These are usually of very high quality and should be able to take you for decades. The best warranties go for up to around 12 years. The worst products are covered by shorter warranties of about 3 years.
Results and Experiences from Other Consumer Tests
We usually review reports from other consumer tests as that is the best way we can determine which are the best products. For these heaters, we used reviews from Top Ten Reviews and Consumer Reviews. Both of these websites tested the heaters extensively and compared them to come up with a verdict on the best products.
Professionals from Consumer Reviews tested products from Bosch, Rheem, Navien, Rinnai, Tempra, Noritz, and Trutankless. Those from Top Ten Reviews tried out appliances from AO Smith, Kenmore, and Rheem, among others.
Here are some factors they considered when making reviews on the items:
- Efficiency Ratings: The best products have an Energy Star certificate. The efficiency ratings are not uniforms for gas and electricity-powered heaters. Those that run on gas can have low-efficiency ratings but still be highly effective. For storage tank heaters, the size of the tank was also taken into account when making the review based on efficiency ratings.
- Warranty: The best storage tank heaters typically last for up to 12 years while tankless ones can go for 20 years. In the reviews, the testers considered the lengths of the warranties to determine which products were reliable.
- Reputation: The best products market themselves through their positive reviews. When making their reviews, the testers from Top Ten Reviews and Consumer Reviews took into account the experiences other users have had. These users are also the best sources of information on the level of maintenance required to keep the heaters working for long.
- Capacity: The size of the tank was also taken into account in the reviews. There is no right size of the water heater as it depends on your particular needs. They simply checked the available sizes to determine the best heaters for different sizes of families.
- Anti-scale technology: Some of the best products come with elements that can reduce the build-up of minerals in the heaters. When making their reviews, the testers considered whether the products had these features. Some products were ranked among the best if they had long warranties, even if they did not have any features to reduce the build-up of minerals in the heaters.
- The material used to make the drain valves: The best heaters are designed with brass drain valves since brass is more durable than plastic.
- The presence of digital displays: For the best experience working with these heaters, you should go for those with digital displays. The products that came with this feature were ranked highly since they allow you to monitor levels and customise your operation.
- Costs: The reviewers also ranked the best heaters based on their initial and operational costs. Those that helped you save money at the end of the day were ranked among the best. It should also be noted that the best brands develop products that last for many years.
The 10 Best Water Heater Brands
Even if you don’t read user reviews, there are some brands you can never go wrong with. They are known for manufacturing products of the best quality.
Here are the 10 best water heater brands on the market:
- Stiebel Eltron
- EcoSmart Tankless
Rheem has the largest market share of all the water heater brands on the market. Their heaters almost always receive high ratings and positive reviews. Their products practically market themselves because of their high quality and functionality. Rheem Manufacturing Company has been producing water heaters for more than 100 years, and this explains why they have been able to gain such a large share in the heater market. The company produces electric, solar, and gas heaters. They also have tankless and pump heaters. All these products have energy efficient claims and multiple warranties. With these products, you will be able to limit your energy consumption and enjoy a guarantee of quality. You will also appreciate the fact that the best Rheem products do not need high levels of maintenance.
This company was founded in 1874 in Wisconsin, USA. The company produces heaters as well as water softener solutions. Products from this company have received positive reviews, especially the ones designed to use gas. Their gas heaters are considered the most reliable in the industry. Other types of water heaters produced by this company include hybrid, solar, and tankless heaters. You can expect to use some of the best A.O.Smith heaters for decades.
Stiebel Eltron is based in Germany, and it is known for manufacturing the best central heating units. The company is close to 100 years old. Their heaters are primarily sold in Europe. If you want to reduce your carbon footprint, you will appreciate these products as they have a 99% energy efficiency. The company has actually been noted to be among the greenest in Europe. Their products are also designed with dial selectors so that you can select your preferred temperature. Although Stiebel Eltron receives the best reviews, it still has its bad sides. One of the biggest con of their heaters is the fact that they offer very short warranties. Most of their products are only covered for 3 years.
Rinnai Corporation is based in Japan, and it has created a name in the UK water heater market. They exclusively produce energy-efficient tankless water heaters, some of which are branded, and others rebranded. Their products are powered by natural gas or liquid propane fuels, and these energy sources are known to have lower carbon emissions. Another advantage noted in the best Rinnai water heater reviews is the fact that many of their products are designed with advanced scale detection technology. Your heater will, therefore, be able to perform optimally all through its life. Their warranties typically range from 5 to 12 years. You will also appreciate the fact that you can lock the product at a certain temperature.
Bosch has developed some of the best heaters in the world. Their products are known to be highly reliable. The heaters are developed with excellent tankless technology and reliable engineering. Bosch manufactures many different types of tankless heaters. These include natural gas, propane, electric, and point-of-use tank type, and gas boilers. The company has a presence in 60 countries, but it sells its products all around the world. Bosch products that have received some of the best ratings and reviews include Bosch WH17 Tronic 6000 C, Bosch WH27, Bosch 940 ES NG, Bosch 940ES LP, and Bosch Greentherm C1050 ES NG. Their best warranties go for 15 years, but you will have to disclose the specific purpose of the water heater first. For certain applications, they will only give you a warranty of 3 years.
Kenmore heaters are sold exclusively through Sears stores. Their products include hybrid, electric, liquid propane, and natural gas powered heaters. The warranties for these products range from six to twelve years. An advantage of these heaters is the fact that they are designed with glass-lined tanks and foam insulation. These features help to ward off corrosion and any forms of heat loss, meaning your product will be energy-efficient for a very long time. Some of their products have also been developed to be smart, meaning they can connect to your mobile phone. With smart heaters, you will be able to change operation modes and the temperature. Also, you will be able to set schedules.
Westinghouse is an American manufacturing company. It was created in 1886 and has been operational until today. Their products are made with stainless steel, and they can last a lifetime. If you intend to use the water heaters at home, then this company will let you enjoy a limited lifetime warranty. This is among the best warranties available in the entire industry. The heaters also have some of the largest capacities. If you have a large family, you should consider purchasing these products. The main problem noted in Westinghouse heater reviews is the fact that the products are very expensive. This should be expected when you purchase high-quality products from companies that have been in existence for centuries.
EcoSmart is a manufacturer of green technology, and it is based in Connecticut, USA. The company makes tankless heaters. Products from this company use different technologies to regulate their energy consumption. Some are designed with self-modulating technology that makes sure the heater will only use the energy needed. You should note that most of the products from this company are developed for specific purposes. For example, some are designed to heat water for the sink. Such heaters may not be used with multiple faucets. Also, it is worth noting that almost all of their products are powered by electricity. If you are working on a budget, you should shop for these heaters as they are cheaply priced. You will also get to enjoy the best limited lifetime warranties.
Takagi is another water heater manufacturer whose online reviews are heavily positive. The company is based in Japan, and it has proven to be highly innovative over the past years. In an attempt to protect the environment and the planet, Takagi has been focusing on the manufacture of tankless energy-efficient heaters. One good thing about this company is that they train their customer service representatives well. They will understand your problem and provide a working solution. This is one of the reasons why Takagi has been getting many positive reviews for their products. They also have some of the best warranties. For residential models, you can expect to get a warranty of between 5 and 15 years. You can extend the warranties by paying extra.
Reliance may not be the best-known brand of water heaters, but it certainly makes the list of top 10 brands. The company has incorporated some of the best features in its products, and these include the Piezo ignition and the Blue Steel lining. To show you how much they believe in their product, Reliance offers a 12-year warranty on their products. The company manufactures gas heaters, electric heaters, and tankless water heaters. In these products, you will appreciate the fact that the maintenance is carried out by the system itself. The heaters are designed with self-cleaning systems for quick maintenance. The gas powered heaters are highly energy efficient. Some customers have been raising concerns on the possibility of the gas accidentally igniting. This company uses different technologies to make sure this will never happen.
The History of Water Heaters
Water heaters have been in existence for a very long time. The earliest manufacturers of these products were started in the 19th century, and some of these companies are still operating to date. Water heaters were first developed in London in 1868. A painter named Benjamin Waddy Maughan made the first model, and it did not use solid fuel. This model heated water instantaneously. This invention was known as the geyser since it worked much like a hot spring.
Water would flow through pipes that were themselves heated by gases from a burner. The hot water would then flow through a pipe to the intended destination. Some people in the UK still refer to water heaters as geysers after the original invention. It is worth noting that the first model had no safety features. There was nothing available to remove the dangerous gases from the house.
Storage tank water heaters would be invented later by Edwin Ruud, a Norwegian mechanical engineer. His model was influenced by the geyser. Ruud made his first automatic storage tank water heater in 1889 while living in Pennsylvania, USA. He went on to found the Ruud Manufacturing Company. This company is still in existence today, and it produces some of the best water heaters in the world.
The first solar water heater was designed in 1896 by Clarence Kemp. This was a popular choice for people living in sunny regions.
Facts on Water Heaters
Here are some interesting facts on water heaters:
- By 306AD, the Romans had large baths which were facilitated with heated water. These are not considered water heaters, but they could have helped early inventors come up with the idea of water heaters.
- The 1990s were regarded as the golden age of water heaters since many different types of heaters were invented in this period. Electric, solar, and gas-powered water heaters came into existence in this period. Many features were also added to the water heaters to make them more convenient to use.
- About 25% of the energy used in your home goes into heating your water. This is why you need to consider buying an energy-efficient water heater seriously.
- On average, tankless water heaters last for 19 years. On the other hand, storage tank water heaters last for an average of 11 years.
- You can reduce your energy use by between 10% and 50% if you choose to go for a high-efficiency water heater.
- You can suffer burns if you come into close contact with the steam from heated water. If your water is too hot, you can lower the heating temperature of your appliance.
- Tankless water heaters may last for a very long time, but they cost twice as much as the traditional storage tank models.
- The first water heaters were named geysers after the hot water geysers in Iceland. Iceland itself does not use artificial water heaters since they obtain their hot water from the geysers. Also, Iceland is the only country which can claim to obtain all its energy from renewable sources.
Safety Instructions when Dealing with Water Heaters
The best water heaters are designed with safety features. However, these will not be useful if you don’t take some precautionary measures.
Here are some tips to help you stay safe when dealing with water heaters:
How to Care for and Maintenance of Your Water Heater
Frequently Asked Questions
Can water heater explode?
Modern water heaters are designed with valves that open up when temperature and pressure build-up in the appliance. This means the heaters cannot explode.
Are water heater warranties worth it?
Yes, water heaters are electronics and can get damaged for many reasons. Sometimes, the reasons are beyond your control. If your manufacturer has long warranties, you should invest in them.
Can water heater last 20 years?
Yes, tankless water heaters typically last for about 20 years. Storage tank water heaters rarely last for more than 11 years. You should care for and maintain your water heater if you want it to last for a very long time.
Why is the water heater not working?
There are many reasons why your water heater may not be working. One of the common reasons is that there is a sediment build up in the heater. The problem might also be rooted in a broken dip tube.
Will water heater work during a power outage?
This depends on the type of energy used to heat the water. If it runs on electricity, the water heater will not work in power outage.
Will tankless water heater save money?
Tankless water heaters are generally considered more environmental-friendly since they only use energy when needed. You will not have to use energy heating water just to store it.
Who fixes water heaters?
Generally, a plumber will be able to fix any problems relating to the water heater. However, there are times when electricians will be better equipped to fix the system.
When should you clean the water heater?
In most places, you will only need to clean the water heater once a year. However, if you have very hard water, you should consider cleaning the heater more often.
Why water heater makes noise?
Many people complain about loud noises in their water heater reviews. The noise does not always mean that the system is faulty.
Are water heater blankets worth it?
Water heater blankets are meant to provide an extra layer of insulation so that you don’t have to spend as much energy heating up the water. They are especially useful in cold seasons as the heaters will cool down fast.