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Tank-type water heaters have a hot water storage tank where heated water is stored and available for use at any time. When hot water is drawn from the tank, it is replaced by cooler water that must be heated before use. It takes some time for the water in the tank to reach its thermostatically set temperature. When buying a water heater, ask about the unit's "Rate of Recovery" to learn how fast it will heat water in the tank.
A two-person household typically requires a 40 to 60 gallon water heater, while a five-person household may require a 60 to 80 gallon water heater to accommodate peak usage requirements. If you have a large family or a whirlpool tub, consider buying a model with a larger tank, even though it may cost slightly more to operate.
Tankless water heaters, also known as "on demand" water heaters, have long been used in Europe and are now available in the USA. More costly than tank-type water heaters, they can also be more efficient because they heat water only when it is being used rather than heating and storing water in a tank where its heat can gradually dissipate. The heating coils in a tankless hot water heater turn on immediately when water begins to flow through them and turn off when the water flow stops.
On HotWaterHeaters.us, you will find selected suppliers of both tank-type and tankless water heaters, as well as consumer information about hot water heater efficiency and operation. Hard water can shorten the life of a water heater, so consider warranty issues more carefully if your water has high mineral content. If you are in the market for a new water heater, you may wish to read the ACEEE's helpful article about energy-efficient water heating, as well as the U.S. DOE articles listed below, before making your hot water heater purchase.
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