New Water Heater Tech Blog
Smart Plumbing & HVAC, HVAC October 2019

New Water Heater Technologies For Residential

Wolseley PRO Pipeline Blog

Today, domestic hot water is not just a luxury but a requirement – and water heater technology is evolving. As we move into the next decade, the landscape for domestic water heating will change drastically. Between code changes and emerging technologies, the water heater that we are used to will become a thing of the past. Keeping up on the new products in the market and their applications is critical for your business. You’ll not only be able to increase sales and profitability, but product knowledge can play a role in customer confidence and satisfaction.

How to choose the best water heater for the job

There are a range of options for water heating, from standard tank style and tankless to indirect fired water heaters. In this blog, we will cover the new and emerging water heater technologies, focused on residential water heating.

Standard Tank-Style Water Heaters

The standard tank style water heater is a fixture that receives little thought in a residential application until it either stops working or develops a leak. Today, there are a myriad of choices both in the tank style, and the newer tankless style of heater. Things that need to be taken into consideration when deciding what type of unit to install is fuel source (gas, propane, oil, electricity), recovery rate (rate as gallons per our based on a specific temperature rise), and style of heater.

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Condensing Storage Tank Water Heaters


Of the tank style heaters, one of the newest units to come to market is a condensing tank. In non-condensing applications, most heaters have about an 80% AFUE rating. This means that 20% of the fuel usage is going through the flue system and into the atmosphere. For condensing units, ratings can be as high as 96% AFUE which is far more efficient that a standard power vented water heater. Capturing the latent heat in this exhaust allows for better heating capacity and a more efficient unit. A condensing tank will have a larger heat exchanger surface to allow for the hot flue gases to continue to heat the water in the tank.

However, by getting the maximum efficiency from these flue gases, you will create a corrosive condensate that needs to be drained away in a safe manner from the heater, and you may need an acid neutralizer. The drawing from CleanBC Better Homes gives you an idea of what a condensing water heater looks like from the inside.

Shop high-efficiency condensing storage tank water heaters on Wolseley Express, like the Bradford White Power Vent Residential Water Heater.



Tankless Water Heaters

Navien_Condensing_Tankless_Water_HeaterTankless water heaters have become a market force over the last number of years and their presence will continue to grow. Instead of continuing to heat a tank full of water to a constant temperature, these units will only heat the water required at time of use. Different styles of tankless water heaters offer a range of efficiency, from standard tankless water heaters up to the more efficient condensing style. Ratings on tankless water heaters are described in terms of energy efficiency (EF rating); the higher the number the more efficient the heater. While tankless is the best energy-saving option in water heating, there are a few things to remember with tankless units.


First, tankless units are not instantaneous water heaters. As there is no reserve of hot water being held, they can take a few extra seconds to feed hot water to a fixture. As well, ensuring proper sizing is vital. Required flow rates must be calculated and compared to the charts provided by heater manufacturers. Ensuring you have the right temperature rise will result in higher customer satisfaction. Keep in mind, incoming water temperatures can be very warm in the Southern US compared to in Canada. Finally, the units need to be maintained regularly (as all equipment should be). This includes a regular flush. Frequency will depend on water conditions where they are installed.



Learn more about the benefits of tankless water heaters here.

Shop for tankless water heaters on Wolseley Express, like Navien Condensing Tankless Water Heater.

Image Courtesy of Navien Inc. 


Indirect Fired Water Heater for Hydronic Heating

Weil_MClain_Aqua_Plus_Indirect_Fired_Water_HeaterFor homes with hydronic heating, there is the option of an indirect fired water heater. Using boiler water and an internal heat exchanger, these units are much like a very well-insulated thermos and tend to have very high recovery rates. In some cases, they can be double and triple what a standard power vented water heater can provide. Due to the insulation, it takes less energy overall to keep the water inside at the required temperature. As well, most manufacturers of indirect fired water heaters provide lengthy warranties due to the manufacturing methods that are used to create them.


Shop for indirect fired water heaters for hydronic heating on Wolseley Express, like Weil Mclain Aqua Plus Indirect Fired Water Heater.

In the changing water heating market, staying up to date with new technologies can have a significant impact on your business. Choosing the right water heater for your residential job can mean greater energy efficiency, cost savings and overall customer satisfaction.

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