For seasonal cottage owners, late May to early June each year is an exciting time. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for all winter—the warm season has finally returned!
Of course, along with seasonal cottage ownership comes seasonal cottage upkeep. Sometimes, this means doing a light dusting before the family arrives. And sometimes, this means selecting and installing a new water heater.
Thankfully, the latter doesn’t need to be done that frequently, but when your water heater goes, cottage life becomes a lot chillier around shower time! Most people find it at least somewhat stressful to pick out a new water heater, especially when time is of the essence.
If this describes you, we hope you will find this post helpful and informative! We’ve put together some of our favorite water heater selection tips to help you narrow down your search and choose the best water heater for your seasonal cottage.
Different Types of Water Heaters
As their names suggest, the first type of water heater has a storage tank for holding pre-heated water while the second type has no storage tank.
And as you might imagine, there are pros and cons associated with each type of water heater. In general, there is no better one over the other; instead, there are different situations in which one type of water heater might be a better choice.
So first let’s look at the pros and cons of each type.
Tank Water Heater: Pros & Cons
A tank water heater can come in different sizes: 20-gallon, 40-gallon and 50-gallon tanks are common.
A tank water heater can also run on electric power, propane or natural gas power.
The number one benefit associated with tank water heaters is the on-demand feature—just turn on the hot water spigot and you have all the hot water you need.
This is especially beneficial if you need hot water in more than one place at once (for example, if one family member is showering and another is running the dishwasher).
The major drawbacks to a tank water heater include these:
- The tank requires more storage space.
- You are paying to pre-heat hot water before you need it.
- For a seasonal cottage, you have to drain the tank periodically and seasonally to clean it.
- The smaller tank sizes can take longer to preheat the water, causing a lag.
Tankless Water Heater: Pros & Cons
A tankless water heater comes in one size and can run on electric power, propane or natural gas power.
The major benefits to a tankless hot water heater include these:
- They don’t require much storage space.
- You don’t pay to pre-heat water you don’t need right away.
- They don’t need to be drained for cleaning or seasonal cottage closing.
- They are low maintenance and only typically need one annual cleaning.
The major con to a tankless water heater is that they are less well-equipped to handle on-demand hot water requests, especially if those requests are made simultaneously (such as showering and running the dishwasher at the same time).
Also, if you are installing an electric tankless water heater, you need to verify in advance that your electrical panel is sufficiently robust to handle the demand; otherwise, choose a propane or natural gas unit.
Choosing a Water Heater for Your Cottage
After reading through the major pros and cons for the tank hot water versus the tankless hot water heater, you may already have a sense of which type of water heater might be a better fit for your cottage lifestyle.
If you have a busy, active family with lots of kids and simultaneous hot water demands, a large tank unit is likely going to be the optimal choice for your cottage.
Conversely, if you have minimal storage space for a tank unit, only a few people occupying your cottage at any given time and reasonable hot water demands, a tankless water heater might be the best choice.
Choosing Your Water Heater Power Source
The choice between electric power and propane or natural gas power can be challenging to make in a hurry. This is especially the case when you are trying to decide whether to change to a more economical power source.
Unless you have a fairly robust cottage electrical panel, taking the plunge to install a propane tank and run your water heater from that can be a surprisingly economical move.
If you are using a tank water heater, the burden on your cottage electrical system lessens because your water heater has time to heat up your water in advance. However, the smaller tank water heater systems can take longer to preheat because they only have one element, and they will run out of hot water much more quickly than the larger tank units.
And if you want to install a tankless water heater, the on-demand aspect of heating the water can at times place an unreasonably high demand on your cottage electrical system.
For this reason, it can make sense on multiple levels to consider installing a propane or natural gas tankless water heater at your seasonal cottage.
Need Help? Get in Touch
Here at Shipton’s Heating & Cooling, we have nearly a century of expertise helping homeowners, businesses and seasonal cottage owners choose and install the right appliances for their needs.
We are happy to work with you to select and install the perfect hot water heater for your seasonal residence! We can even help you do a cost comparison using power rates in your area to make sure you get the most affordable, efficient unit!