The most common type of hot water system in Hamilton is a traditional storage tank water heater. This type of water heater looks like a large drum, typically with a capacity of 151 or 189 litres, which is heated by electricity, natural gas, oil or propane. The water heater maintains the internal water temperature that has been set on the tank, usually between 49 to 60 degrees Celsius. Every time you use hot water, cold water enters the tank and is heated for the next available demand.

A tank-type unit continually cycles on and off in order to maintain the programmed temperature setting. Storage hot water tanks are limited in the amount of hot water they can provide. Once it runs out, you must wait until the tank refills with cold water and heats it to the correct temperature.  Just about everyone has experienced a cool shower or bath because they ran out of hot water with this type of system!

Even when hot water is not being drawn by the household, a tank-type unit will turn on as the water inside the tank cools; this is known as “standby loss.”  This means you are paying to heat the water stored in the tank, even when it is not in use.

The second type of water heater in Hamilton is a tankless water heater, also known as an on-demand water heater. This is a wall-mounted, space-saving unit without a storage tank. Water is circulated through a large coil or loop and is only heated by electricity, natural gas or propane when called upon. This unit supplies an endless amount of hot water and “standby loss” is eliminated. Tankless water heaters typically produce enough hot water to run two showers and a dishwasher at the same time.

Tankless systems tend to be more energy efficient than storage tank systems, due to the elimination of standby loss, and their rated efficiencies are higher as well. Since there is no storage tank, the life span of a tankless system is about twice that of a traditional tank-type water heater.

Generally, hot water accounts for about 20 per cent of a Southern Ontario home’s energy use. When it’s time to replace your old water heater in Hamilton, keep your options in mind. The professionals at Langton Mechanical can deliver the information you need to make the choice that is right for you. Give us a call, and don’t forget to ask about our Clarity Un-rental program.