You use hot water in your home every day, whether you’re taking a shower, doing dishes, or running a load of laundry. As a result, the type of water heater you choose to install significantly impacts your costs and experience. Here’s a comparison of the most popular types to help determine which one you want your HVAC contractor to install.

Your Guide to Water Heaters

1. Conventional Tank

The conventional tank heater is the most common. This type uses a large insulated tank—usually between 40 and 80 gallons—that is full of water. The unit heats the water to the appropriate temperature and holds it there so it’s ready to use.

This kind is relatively affordable and quick for your HVAC contractor to install. When you turn on the hot water tap, you’ll have heat almost immediately. However, because the tank needs to keep the water warm, it can use a lot of energy, and you may run out of hot water if you use a lot at once.

2. Tankless

hvac contractorTankless, or on-demand, heaters use very hot coils that heat water almost instantaneously as it flows through. This type requires a higher initial investment since both the product and the installation are pricier than conventional units. However, they are incredibly efficient because they only produce heat when you need it, saving money save over time. You will also never run out of hot water, which makes this an excellent choice for large families.

3. Solar

This unit harnesses the power of the sun to heat water. The solar collector is installed either on the roof or in the yard—somewhere that receives a lot of sunlight. The water is sent through the collector, heated, and stored in the insulated tank until you need to use it. This is much like a conventional tank unit, except that it uses a free and limitless energy source rather than gas or electricity.


The plumbing and HVAC contractor at Oehl Plumbing, Heating, Electric, & Air Conditioning will help you find the perfect water heater for your needs. This licensed, bonded, and insured team is known for trustworthy and affordable water heater repair, maintenance, and installation services throughout Coralville, North Liberty, Iowa City, and Amana, IA. See their full range of services online, and call (319) 339-9490 to schedule an appointment.