You may not realize how important gas hot water heaters are until you’re without one. The goal of the gas water heater reviews here is to help you find the best unit for your needs.
Hot water is a necessity and is something you cannot live without. When you take a shower or urn the dishwasher, your appliances are “requesting” hot water – your utility company does not automatically regulate it.
More importantly, hot water costs money!
Using gas water heaters is less expensive to run and maintain than their electric counterparts.
How Gas Hot Water Heaters Work
The most popular gas water heaters utilize the tank form. These are the most inexpensive and have been around for centuries. The tank form factor is reliable and has a proven track record of maintenance-free operation.
The form factor stores water in a cylinder cavity and is heated by a gas coil. Once hot water is requested from the appliance, the hot water heater releases the heated water from the storage tank. Once the hot water has been used, however; the tank must refill and reheat the water before new hot water can be distributed.
Gas water heaters operate via the theory of convection. In plain terms, this means that heat rises. Cold water is injected to the water heater at the bottom via a dip tube.
Since heat rises, the hot water is pumped through the discharge pipe where it is distributed to appliances as they need hot water. The discharge pipe is relatively short, thus it only pumps the hottest water to your home.
Gas water heaters are enclosed in a steel pressure-sensitive storage tank. There is insulation between the enclosure and the water, to reduce energy costs and heat water more efficiently.
Most gas heaters utilize a fiberglass insulation mechanism, however; you can always install a fiberglass jacket on the outside of the tank. Some tanks utilize a glass-like material and contain a metal rod.
These are called a sacrificial anode, which causes water to corrode the rod rather than the metal lining. Plastic gas water heaters do not need such a feature.
Gas water heaters utilize one of two major heating sources: propane or natural gas. The gasoline is supplied to the heater by a dedicated pipe that has its own gas shutoff valve. It is important to note the location of this valve in case of an emergency, such as an earthquake or fire.
The gas is fed into the burner control module, which is the thermostat. This is the pilot light and is the main source of heating for your water heater. The pilot light should be a blue flame approximately 0.5 inch high.
In order to release materials created during the heating process, gas water heaters have a combustion exhaust flue. The flue helps heat the water in the tank while discharging gasses caused by the burner. There are mandatory regulations and city codes designed for the exhaust flue, thus contact your local city hall for detailed information regarding local ordinances.
A licensed contractor should install water heaters, as there is a substantial risk. Gas hot water heaters come with several safety modules to ensure proper operation.
One of these devices is the temperature and pressure relief valve. Think of this valve as a radiator cap for your car. If the tank’s internal pressure exceeds standard operating values, the discharge pipe relieves some of the built up pressure and temperature.
Models and Variations
There are two major types of gas hot water heaters: tankless and tank. While this guide discusses the tank mechanism, tankless models are an energy efficient way for managing your hot water needs.
Tankless heaters distribute and heat hot water on demand, thus there is no need for a storage tank. While these devices are compact and futuristic, the technology is still being developed. Tankless models can be acquired at most locations, however; a licensed professional to avoid error should perform installation.
The traditional tank gas water heaters are the cheapest and most effective. Your water heater should not require that much maintenance, and last around 8 to 10 years during normal operating conditions. It is important to keep the area where the heater is located free from obstruction, dirt, and other filth.
Gas hot water heaters come in a variety of sizes, including 30, 40, and 50 gallon tanks. There are larger tanks available for home or commercial use that can heat up to 75 or 100 gallons of water (be prepared to spend upwards of $6,000 though).
Normal gas water heaters are in the 30 to 50 gallon range and cost around $400 to $600. When choosing gas water heaters, ensure that you select an EnergyStar compliant unit. This will save you money in the long run, even if the upfront costs are higher. Make sure that the water heater is UL, CSA, and ETL certified.
Take note of the BTU (British thermal unit), which defines the powerfulness of your heater. A 34,000 BTU heater is adequate.
Additionally, take note of the water connection size to ensure your hookup will be compatible. They make adapters and other rivets to make the connection.
Take note of the GPH Recovery specification, which states how many gallons the heater can heat in one hour. Other items to look for include the ignition type, insulation mechanism, and physical size.
Features and Benefits
Gas water heaters are superior to electric hot water heaters. The main reason is simply scientific evidence. The gas burner can heat a 40-gallon tank twice as fast as an electric heater.
Gas heaters typically utilize 40,000 BTU whereas the most power an electric heater can use is 240 volts. The basic electric water heater can heat 20 gallons an hour, versus 40 with gas heaters.
On the contrary, gas water heaters are more dangerous due to the direct gas line, and require a professional to install. Gas hot water heaters are easier to operate, require less upfront costs, and will save money on utility bills compared to electric heaters.
For maximum savings, it is best to select an energy efficient model. Gas models can withstand the test of time and have a lifespan of over 10 years. Since gas is a powerful heating mechanism, your house will never run out of hot water.
Best Gas Water Heaters
Finding a quality and affordable gas hot water heater can be a challenge, however; there are two models worthy of looking at: RHEEM 40 Gallon FVR NATGAS Water Heater 6 YR 22V40F1 and Bosch 2700ES NG Aquastar 7.2 GPM Indoor Tankless Natural Gas Water Heater.
The RHEEM model is an entry-level tank that is capable of meeting the demands of most smaller households and families.
The device only costs $270, which is far below the average cost of higher end models. It receives excellent gas water heater reviews from consumers based on various online shopping portals.
It features a 40-gallon tank and is built with Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistant technology. It has dual-protection safety switches offering modern air/fuel shut off valves.
By using a low NOx design it keeps nitrous oxide emissions to a minimum. The RHEEM model uses the EverKleen filtering mechanism to reduce sediment build up.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Bosch 2700ES Aquastar indoor tankless natural gas water heater is an efficient solution for the busy home.
Costing almost $1,500, this water heater is for the serious homeowner who understands the importance of investing in a high quality water heating solution.
The Bosch 2700ES Aquastar also receives lots of high ratings among gas water heater reviews from consumers on Amazon.com and other online review sites.
Since the device is tankless, it can fit in smaller locations and is less of an eye sore.
It can deliver 7.2 gallons per minute, which is a very high-end model and can service multiple appliances at once compared to other tankless models.
Since there is no tank to heat, utility bills can be reduced by 50 percent. Additionally, the water is heated on demand, meaning you won’t be wasting water.
Pros and Cons of Gas Water Heaters
- Energy Efficient: Costs less to operate than electric models.
- Faster: Heats water in half the time that it takes electric hot water heaters.
- Reliable: Hot water can be produced during electrical outages.
- Installation: Requires a dedicated gas line and pilot light.
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