Review of the electric hot water heaters for residential water heating; types, popular brands, advantages, disadvantages, main parts, and how to select the right size and model.
Almost every manufacturer of water heaters in North America offers a variety of the electric units, which are different in type and size; small like point-of-use or Lowboy, medium sizes like tankless or Table Top and big tank-type used for commercial and residential domestic water and radiant heating.
Electric hot water heaters are designed as large conventional, cylindrical storage tank-type and small tankless. While storage tank type is more popular for the whole-house water heating, small tankless are used mainly for point-of-use service, while bigger ones can provide hot water to more than one fixture.
Electric hot water heaters with the water storage tanks are very popular type due to its proven technology and reliability. This type has a very simple design; tank, surrounded by the foam installation and one or two heating elements. These are available in capacities from a few gallons to over 100. For the best electric models, look for those with a longer warranty, which is usually 12 years, have Incoloy heating elements and protection against dry-firing. The powered anode or commercial grade one is a preference, including a special dip tube for self-cleaning and reduced sediment build-up.
One of the top-rated electric hot water heaters is Marathon 50-gal from Rheem. Marathon comes with great features such as the non-metallic tank - so no corrosion, leaking and rusty water, also no need for the anode rod, used to protect metal tanks. The warranty is a limited lifetime.
Another model, Westinghouse 80 gal., is the best selling on Amazon.com, and one of the features that stands out is the stainless steel tank that also provides a limited lifetime warranty.
Electric hot water heaters with the tankless technology are the favorite type of many homeowners, and this is why; small and compact, provide hot water on demand and in an endless supply, and with the high efficiency of close to 99%. Installed mostly under the sink, electric tankless delivers water instantaneous to one or more fixtures.
For example, one the best models, Tempra Plus 24, from German manufacturer Stiebel Eltron, comes with the advanced engineering and smart microprocessor, so hot water is always delivered with the steady temperature even if the flow varies.
Moreover, looking at the online store Amazon.com, EcoSmart ECO 27 is the best selling model. The reasons are; features such as self-modulating technology, 27 kW of power and up to 6 gallons hot water delivery (enough for homes with up to 5 fixtures), reliability, and limited lifetime warranty
Heat pumps, also known as a hybrid, are the most efficient electric water heaters and the only electric type that is eligible for Energy Star approval, government and utility company rebates/incentives.
This 80-gal heat pump from GE is one of the models recommended by hundreds of homeowners and builders; it comes with the high 67 gallons First Hour Delivery and ultra energy efficiency of around 3 (three times more than standard type, and provides savings up to $490 in households with 3-4 family members.
When selecting a new electric water heater, consider the following:
Water heating process in tank-type electrical hot water heaters is very simple. There are usually two heating elements, submerged inside the water (immersion-type), one in the middle of the tank and one at the bottom, and two thermostats, one for each heater.
The thermostat is a switch, and it can sense a change in water temperature. The switch closes to allow current flow, and it opens when the temperature of hot water reaches its preset limit.
The current passes through electrical-resistance heating elements, power is delivered, and it heats the water to the correct pre-set temperature.
The heating elements continue to carry current until the thermostats are satisfied. These heating elements are very efficient, providing about 99% of the available heat to the surrounding water.
On some tanks, the thermostat has a mark showing a maximum temperature and where to set the temperature that provides energy savings and scald protection.
Money saving tips:
To reduce the heat loss through the bottom of the electric water tank heater, place the tank over a thick layer of firm thermal insulation to reduce the heat loss.
Reducing the temperature setting by 10 degrees F, you can save between 2-5% of your electricity costs.
Insulate the water pipe so as the heater with the insulation blanket.
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