Understanding Different Types of Water Heaters | What’s Right for your Home?

February 2, 2023

Understanding Different Types of Water Heaters

It’s still winter in February, and although Phoenix isn’t as cold as a lot of the rest of the country during this time of the year, it can be rather chilly. When it’s brisk outside, one of the best things to do can be to jump into a nice warm bath or shower, but what if you find yourself without hot water? When it comes to having hot water in your Phoenix area home, it is likely pretty high on the list of things you consider important. If your water heater is having issues keeping up with demand or just needs replaced, there may be more options than you realized. What’s right for your home? We are going to review the different types of water heaters you have to choose from, to help you find one that is a fit for your home and family.

How Does your Home’s Water Heater Work?

Before we jump into the different types of water heaters, we wanted to review what your home’s water heater is and how it works.

As the name implies, a water heater does just that; it heats water. You use this water to shower, wash your hands, cook and clean, and more. A water heater takes cold water from a water supply pipe and heats it up to create warmer water. The heater then pumps the water throughout your home when you open a tap or use an appliance that needs hot water.

The average lifespan of a water heater is around 10 years. With the right annual maintenance and upkeep, you can extend the life of your water heater by several years, while also making it operate more efficiently. There can come a time where your water heater needs replaced or you need to add an additional unit, that’s when you need to find one that is right for your home and family.

Understanding Different Types of Water Heaters

There are several things to consider when it comes to selecting a water heater for your Phoenix home. Fuel type and size and location of your unit should be at the top of the list.

When it comes to the fuel source for your water heater, that may be predetermined for you based on your home’s existing water heater situation, but you should know, there are options. We have summed these up below.

  • Storage Tank Water Heaters: Storage water heaters offer a reservoir of hot water that is ready to be used when needed. These units usually have a 10 to 15 year life expectancy and a lower purchase cost than other units; however, you can run out of hot water in the tank and it takes a while to heat more and energy can be wasted keeping water hot that is not being used. There are two common types of storage tank water heaters: gas and electric. Gas storage heaters use gas, typically with a pilot light to heat the water, and are the most popular type of water heater in the United States. Electric storage water heaters use electricity in the form of electric heating elements to heat the water. The electric version of storage heaters are typically more expensive than their gas counterparts.
  • Tankless Water Heaters: Sometimes referred to as “on-demand” water heaters, tankless units work when hot water is on, instead of storing it. With tankless water heaters, when you turn on the hot water, cold water travels through the pipes and into the tankless water heater unit where it is heated by a gas burner or an electric element. Unlike standard hot water heaters that keep gallons of water and constantly heat the water within the tank, with tankless water heaters, the water is not stored in the tank. This creates a constant supply of hot water. Tankless water heaters take up much less space than standard water heaters, while still producing a lot of hot water. On average, tankless water heaters provide hot water at a rate of 2 to 5 gallons per minute. These units can take longer to provide hot water, since it is not stored, and they typically can’t provide heated water to multiple sources at once.
  • Indirect Water Heaters: This is water heater option that many people are not familiar with. This type of water heating device uses your home’s heating system to heat the water and then stores it in a tank. It has no direct flame and relies on a boiler or furnace to produce its heat. These units have lower installation and maintenance costs than other types of water heaters; however, they require larger storage tanks, so they can take up more space, are not as good at heating water as the other types of water heaters we have reviewed, and won’t work with forced air furnaces that don’t have heat exchange pipes (they typically only work with a boiler system).

Heat pump and solar water heaters, are also options, but much less common. If you want to learn more about these types of units, you can check out the Energy Saver 101: Water Heating infographic, provided by Energy.gov

Selecting the Right Water Heater for your Phoenix Area Home

While we have reviewed the different types of water heaters above, as we said, you should also consider size and location of your unit when choosing a new one. When it comes to determining what size water heater is right for your home, you need to keep in mind that bigger is not always better. A properly sized water heater will meet your household's hot water needs while operating more efficiently. Having a water heater that's too small may cause you to run out of hot water and having one that's too big can lead you to waste money on heating water you don't use.

We won’t get into too many details as to how to determine the right sized water heater for your home, as you can leave that up to the experts at Arizona Comfort Specialists. When you’re looking for a water heater replacement in Phoenix and the surrounding area, contact our friendly, professional team at Arizona Comfort Specialists, we will help you find a unit that is right for your home and family.


Mon-Fri: 7:30AM - 4:30PM
Sat: 8:00AM - 12:00PM

Rated A+ in Arizona!

©2023 Arizona Comfort Specialists Cooling and Heating. All Rights Reserved. License #K39-157617.