Getting to Know the Different Types of Water Heaters

Getting to Know the Different Types of Water Heaters

January 17, 2018

Thinking about upgrading your home’s hot water heater in 2018? Before you simply swap out your old unit for the same model of a newer year, it’s a smart idea to take some time to get familiar with your options. That’s right: you’ve got options!

Depending on the model of water heater you select to replace your antiquated one, there are certain benefits and features you’ll be exposed to. Let’s take a quick look at a rundown of the different hot water heaters in Altoona, PA below.


This is likely the water heater you have in your basement right now. It’s a big tank that holds and heats water, delivering it to your taps on demand. This model is great because it comes with a low overall cost and very basic maintenance. The downfall? It’s not very efficient as compared to some of the newer options available today. This type of water heater will typically last 10 to 12 years on average.


The pinnacle of water heater innovation, tankless water heaters supply an infinite amount of hot water on demand. You won’t find a big tank in your basement—they’re more compact and usually just look like a box. They’re also hugely energy efficient! The downside is that they have a higher upfront cost and generally require more frequent maintenance, which includes de-scaling them annually. They can last for decades if properly maintained.

Heat Pumps

This is the “hybrid” option when you’re not sure about choosing between tankless and conventional tank water heaters. This style of water heater uses geothermal heat from the ground to heat water at an incredibly efficient rate, saving you huge sums on your energy bill. Inherently, this operation also extends the life of your investment in a heat pump—you’re likely to buy a new home before needing to replace this unit! The downfall here is that heat pumps don’t work well in colder environments like Pennsylvania and can require quite a bit of space in your home.


If you’re a fan of renewable energy, solar hot water heaters in Altoona, PA may be something to consider. These systems are essentially tanks heated by the sun’s UV rays. On cloudy days, they might use reserve solar energy to heat water or revert to a gas/electric backup. They’re known for being exceptionally cost-efficient; however, they come with a larger upfront investment price. Setbacks of solar panels include technology that’s still evolving, which means your investment could be antiquated in just a few years’ time.

There are also condenser water heater options to consider, which are typically reserved for larger capacities and not cost-effective for most homeowners.

As you can see from the above breakdowns, there’s no one-size-fits-all water heater solution, and each style comes with its own set of pros and cons. Depending on your willingness to pay up front or your consciousness about lifespan and ongoing energy costs, it’s worth consulting with a plumber or heating contractor about which style might be right for you and your home.

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