Which Is The Best Water Heater For A Tiny Home?
Not every tiny home owner chooses to provide access to hot water in their units. If you do, though, you have several different options available to you. The one you should purchase, however, depends on your needs and resources. Here's more information about the different water heating options available to help you decide which one to get.
Gas-Powered Water Heater
One type of water heater that many tiny home owners seem to prefer is the gas-powered appliance. Like those found in regular homes, gas-powered water heaters are fueled by natural gas or propane, which can be purchased by the canister at various retailers.
Gas-powered water heaters are popular for several reasons. They require very little electricity, which is good for people who use solar technology to power their homes or those who go off-grid a lot. However, these appliances are pretty powerful, capable of heating water fairly quickly (one brand heats water in 10 seconds). If you're using gas in other parts of the home (e.g. for cooking), it's easy to put in an additional line for the water heater.
These appliances aren't without their drawbacks though, starting with the fact they must be properly vented to prevent the gas from flowing back into the home, which may require extra construction. The gas tanks themselves must be stored properly as well or they may not work as efficiently as they should. Gas-powered water heaters are also expensive, often costing around $1,000 or more.
Electric Water Heater
If cost is a concern, an electric water heater is typically the least expensive option of the bunch, as you can typically purchase a small, RV-sized tank for just a few hundred dollars. However, cost isn't the only advantage electric water heaters have over gas.
With an electric water heater, there's no need to account for venting, which provides more flexibility with placement. You'll also enjoy having extra space since you won't need to store canisters of gas. Another benefit is it's infinitely easier to install gadgets to the water heater that can help you use less energy. For instance, you can put a timer on the machine to turn it on at certain times of the day to prevent the appliance from using electricity to heat water when you don't need it.
Unfortunately, the biggest drawback with an electric water heater is it uses a lot of energy, which must be accounted for if you'll be using solar panels for your tiny home. This means you may need to install extra panels or watch your electricity usage like a hawk to avoid running out of energy, especially if you live in place where sunlight is difficult to come by.
You can overcome this issue by purchasing a solar-powered electric water heater, but you can expect to pay extra for this upgrade, and the tank may only heat water during the day when the sun is out, depending on the model you buy.
Tankless Water Heater
The third option for getting hot water in your tiny home is to install a tankless water heater. These appliances are great because water is heated on demand, so you don't need a storage tank. This means you'll have more space for other features you may want to build into your home. Another benefit of this appliance is you'll have access to an unlimited amount of hot water. With a standard tank water heater, you're limited by the amount of water the tank can hold. Once that runs out, you have to wait for the tank to refill and heat the water. This is not an issue with the tankless variety.
However, tankless water heaters are sensitive to their environments. In particular, they are more likely to freeze than any other type of water heater. Additionally, if it's really cold outside, the water heater either won't heat water as hot as you want it to or it will use extra energy to get the water to the desired temperature.
For more information about the different type of water heaters available, contact a local contractor in your area or visit websites like http://www.rbincorporated.com/.