Hot water: Which position is the most suitable?

Choosing an electric water heater is a good solution to have Sanitary Hot Water at home. A large number of homes in our country incorporate these devices in whose choice various factors intervene, mainly the capacity, the material of the tank, and the position. On the latter, we can choose between the vertical or horizontal position and even reversible that both support. Let’s see when it is more advisable to choose one or the other.

We are clear that we are going to install an electric water heater but now we have to decide what type of water heater we are going to buy. The position of the water heater (vertical or horizontal) will mainly be determined by the available space we have to install it. In this sense, the installer will guide us to achieve the desired solution both in orientation and incapacity, analyzing the space where we want to install it.

  • Vertical electric water heater: It is only possible to install it vertically. These appliances are the most common on the market as they require little space and normally with a capacity of 50-80 liters they can be easily hidden in a kitchen cupboard or on a terrace. In addition, another advantage of vertical water heaters is better accessibility at the time of possible repairs or maintenance. Technically they tend to offer more benefits since the heat -hot water- tends to rise and the cold -cold water- to fall. In the vertical position, the movement of heat is easier. The vertical electric water heaters are equipped so that the hot water pipe remains glued to the ceiling. They allow precise measurement of the water temperature – centered thermostat – which is measured at the highest point, taking advantage of its capacity to 100% and achieving good energy efficiency. The cold water inlet is always in the lower part so that optimal water stratification is obtained.
  • Horizontal electric water heater: It is only possible to install it horizontally. The installation of these devices is much less common than the previous ones since they require more space for their installation. Its operation is as reliable as the vertical ones since they allow a good measurement of the water temperature – centered thermostat – which is measured at the highest point. Like verticals, they take advantage of their 100% capacity. In this type of thermos, there is a greater difficulty of access for possible repairs or maintenance. They are ideal for places with low ceilings for placement on the floor or ceiling.
  • Reversible electric water heater: It is possible to install it both horizontally and vertically. This option is not the most chosen since it incorporates some disadvantages since its components, being prepared for multiposition, are not as effective as those specifically prepared to work in a horizontal or vertical position, since stratification is much less effective. It is heated by an electrical resistance that is inside the pot. As we use the hot water, cold water enters, which is heated again by the resistance that starts up again. The hot water is kept by its density at the back and cold water at the bottom of the boiler. 

How to save with domestic hot water systems?

There is a wide range of solutions on the market that adapt to all types of installation needs and domestic hot water demand: type of use, required volume of water, compatibility with renewable energy systems … It is important to choose systems that guarantee the maximum comfort but also those that offer maximum guarantees and energy efficiency that allows us to reduce consumption costs.

The production of Sanitary Hot Water logically implies energy consumption that depends on several factors. When choosing a DHW system for our home and buying a device that offers us this solution, such as an accumulator, storage tank, an inertia tank or an electric water heater, we must take into account what characteristics it has to achieve greater efficiency . In addition to the devices, the approach and isolation of the installation must be adequate for the system to be as efficient as possible.

  1. Choose a product adapted to our needs. Correctly dimensioning the volume of water accumulation we need will allow us to make the most of the device’s performance. The storage capacity must be properly calibrated so that the heat generators work efficiently and the number of stops and starts is reduced.
  2. Minimum energy classification. In this type of product, the quality is determined by the thickness of the insulation of the tank and the material of its lining, since both are related to the greater or lesser heat loss. That is, with energy efficiency. It is advisable to install accumulation tanks with a minimum energy classification of C that already guarantee adequate efficiency. 
  3. Quality of the coating and thickness of the tank insulation. Rigid insulation such as injected polyurethane is usually used in tanks of up to 750 liters, and from this volume flexible insulation such as fiberglass or polyester fiber is usually used. The greater the thickness, the lower the heat loss, and the higher the efficiency. The larger the tank the static energy loss is greater, but if we choose an energetically reliable accumulator, the loss is reduced to the maximum. Accumulation tanks are capable of storing hot water at high temperature for a long period of time without it cooling down.
  4. Temperature limitation. In a DHW production and distribution installation, it is necessary to limit the maximum storage and distribution temperatures to reduce the thermal losses of the entire installation. You can save 4-6% energy with thermostat temperature regulators.
  5. Properly isolated distribution systems. Proper insulation of the hot water distribution piping system can lead to up to 70% heat savings.
  6. Approach to the entire installation. Losses also occur during the journey that the water must take from the point of generation to the point of consumption. The longer the route, the more losses will occur, so it is best that this distance be as short as possible. In installations with a recirculation system, it is highly recommended that the recirculation pump does not work during periods of no consumption.
  7. Responsible consumption. Energy efficiency and savings also go through a controlled and responsible consumption of water. All the measures in the planning of the installation and the choice of the appliance can be ruined if excessive consumption is made and efficient management measures are not taken by the users.

Ultimately, energy efficiency goes through a correct approach and dimensioning of the installation as a whole, the choice of reliable and quality DHW appliances, and responsible consumption by users. With these elements, the savings in energy consumption of the Sanitary Hot Water system will be significant.