The water gets into your home through a system of pipes, and it’s typically cold or very cold depending on the season. To warm water up in order to take a hot shower or enjoy a hot bath you will require a water heater.
Water heaters can be found in most homes. They resemble big metal cylinders that are often installed in a laundry room or basement. There are different types of water heaters. The popular ones are tankless models that heat water on demand, but the old and faithful water heater design that’s widespread in America today is just a simple appliance – it’s basically a cylinder filled with water and having a heating element on its bottom or inside. What makes the water heater the most amazing device is the fact that it uses the heat rising principle to deliver hot water straight to your faucet with minimal efforts. It’s possible due to a clever design on the water heater inside that looks so ordinary on the outside.
However, conventional water heaters consume the most energy in comparison to any other home appliance. Their time of service also influences the energy savings. The older the water heater is, the more energy it uses. Over the years there has been a trend to make conventional water heaters more energy efficient. Since about 17 % of a home’s energy usage belongs to your water heater, it’s estimated that hybrid water heaters could save the average family hundreds (if not thousands) dollars in energy costs every year.
The hybrid water heater was invented in 2006 by a pretty small company, Grand Hall USA of Garland, Texas, a company that also manufactures barbeque grills. Grand Hall’s Eternal Hybrid water heater defined this product type.
In 2010 A.O. Smith (the nation’s largest water heater manufacturer in North America) came up with their NEXT Hybrid, which the company started to promote intensely.
What is a hybrid water heater?
Traditional tank heaters heat from the bottom – consequently the air rises through the tank and exits from the top, allowing a significant amount of heat to be wasted. Tankless models also heat from the bottom, but the water runs through copper pipes. And there is no storage tank – they provide hot water to a number of your home locations on demand.
Although hybrid water heater technology is still developing and can combine different technologies, basically, hybrid water heaters are tank and tankless traditional water heaters merged together.
The technology behind new hybrid water heaters depends on the model. For instance, Eternal Hybrid uses multiple passes of the heat and water to warm up more effectively. The unit has 44 pipes that heat up, and the water flows around them for quick heating. And, unlike a tankless unit, the hybrid water heater contains a reservoir to keep some water hot at all times, so you never run out of it!
Both Eternal Hybrid and NEXT Hybrid water heaters are gas-fired systems containing a small buffer two-gallon tank, which is kept hot continuously. There are two advantages of the buffer tank:
- When someone takes a shower, he/she may suddenly get a shot of cold water from a standard tankless water heater. In case with a hybrid water heater this problem is eliminated.
- It allows hot water to be delivered in tinier loads, as in a low-flow bathroom tap. With most tankless water heaters the burner won’t be activated unless the hot water flow exceeds about 0.6 gallons per minute.
The mentioned types are just the two popular ones among hybrid water heaters; the other options at the market are numerous today. The hybrid water heaters appear to have some performance advantages over conventional tankless water heaters, but whether they will make economic sense over conventional gas storage water heaters will depend on the situation and usage habits.
If you want to find out more about hybrid water heaters, contact our company – Brea/Orange County Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning.