About Electric Hot Water Heaters
An electric, storage type water heater has one or more heating elements which operate simultaneously or non-simultaneously (most commonly) to heat the domestic water inside the tank. There’s a large variety of electric WH options, including standard, solar booster, heat pump and others, which are tailored for optimal performance in given conditions.
Most standard water heaters operate on 208V or 240V power supply (hardwired), with exception of utility and mini-tank models, which use 120V and usually plug right into an electric outlet.
Types of electric water heaters
Standard electric water heaters
- also known as tall or upright, they come in 30, 40, 50 and 75 (80) gallon tank sizes and include (2) heating elements (usually 4500W), operating off a 208V or 240V power supply. They are most popular due to their capacity, ease of installation and maintenance.
Lowboy water heaters
- are simply short and wide version of the standard models and have the same or similar capacities and specifications, but designed for installation in confined spaces with limited headroom. Very often lowboy models have side (instead of top) connections.
Utility water heaters
- are compact versions of standard models, with capacities usually ranging from 6 to 20 gallons, often operating on 120V power supply. These often have a single elements (vs. 2 elements in standard models).
Mini-tank water heaters
"under-sink" or "point-of-use" electric WH’s have the smallest tank capacity of all types, usually anywhere from 2 to 6 gallons, and most commonly plug into a standard 120V outlet. They are generally intended for single-fixture applications, such as kitchen, utility, bar, washroom sinks, etc.
Heat pump (hybrid) electric water heaters
- incorporate a heat pump, which pulls the heat from the surrounding air and uses it to heat the water in the tank. Most models have at least (3) operation modes - heat pump only, hybrid (heat pump + electric), and electric only. They are very energy efficient, especially in warm climates or when installed in warm environment (i.e. furnace or boiler room).
Solar booster/backup electric water heaters
store hot water provided by solar collectors and use electricity to supplement heating at times when solar energy is not available (i.e. at night).
Electric Tankless (on-demand) water heaters
are listed in a separate category.