As heating up water for domestic use can consume a major portion of your fuel bills, care and consideration should be taken before installing water heaters in your home. Not only should the system provide you and your family with an adequate supply of hot water, but it should perform energy efficiently, without wastage and saving you precious dollars. The types of water heaters available in the market for domestic installation are:

* Conventional storage heaters

* Demand/tank-less/instantaneous heaters

* Heat pump water heaters

* Solar powered heaters

* Tank-less coil/ indirect heaters

The criteria on which you base your choice should also factor the following:

* Cost and availability of fuel source: the fuel type or the source of energy that you will use to heat water in your home determines the overall annual operation costs. The fuel type also affects the sizing of the appliance and its energy efficiency. Electrically fuelled devices are supposed to be 50% more efficient than gas powered appliances. Some devices like those using heat pump are even more cost effective technologies.

* Sizing: to attain maximum fuel efficiency, a device should be correctly sized for your household demands. The capacity for a storage heater is indicated in its “first hour rating”.
Energy efficiency of the appliance: ratings such as energy star etc. should indicate the energy efficiency of the appliance and help you in making the decision for your home.

* Costs: before installation, compare the upfront costs of the various water heaters at your disposal; also take into consideration annual operating costs before making a purchase. Another consideration before installing an expensive appliance is the lifecycle cost. Determine what sort of maintenance may be expected, any government subsidies or incentives that may be availed (as is the case with solar heated devices) etc.

Unconventional energy sources like solar heating are fast catching on. The initial installation costs may be high but they can be a great investment over time as they require very little maintenance, and new solar panels are much more efficient than before. They use a renewable source of energy that is totally free of cost. Many home owners have switched to solar heating as a back up to conventional sources.

Another technology that is finding popularity is the use of heat pumps. A standard electric water heater uses the resistance to generate heat directly. Heat pumps use electricity for moving heat from one source to another. Such tanks use about one-third to half as much electricity as regular electric water heaters. Marietta residents can consult their plumbing professionals about sizing and technology when installing new appliances for their homes.