A little history…
In London in 1868, a painter named Benjamin Waddy Maughan invented what is considered to be “the first instantaneous domestic water boiler which did not utilize solid fuel”. “The Geyser” had a burner at the bottom that heated the wires which then warmed up the water flowing through. This invention was a little dangerous since there wasn’t any pipe to remove the heated gases from the bathroom.
About 20 years later, inspired by Maughan’s invention, Edwin Ruud, a mechanical engineer from Norway, invented the first storage tank type gas water boiler. He was then residing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His company, Ruud Manufacturing still exists today.
Today, you can find many different types of water heating systems. Here’s the two most popular:
– Tankless water boiler:
In other countries they are known as geysers, multipoint boilers or Instantaneous Hot Water Units. These water boilers will warm up the water instantly as it flows through it. As the name suggests there is no storage of water. The advantages with this model are that you get a continuous flow of hot water and there is a possibility of saving energy in the long term. You are also saving space with these “tanks” since the majority of them can go on a wall. This system can control precisely the water temperature so there is no danger of reaching a really high temperature level. Unfortunately they are not perfect. The initial cost to install this system is considerably more than a regular tank. Also there is a bit of a start up delay since the system will heat up the water only on demand. There is also a short delay between when the water starts flowing and the heat detector is activated. If you are using a faucet on and off for example, you might start with hot water, then a bit of cold water then hot water again.
– Storage system (Tank):
These are probably the most common type found in North America for residential and commercial usage. It consists of a cylinder tank that keeps the water warm and ready to use. The average residential tank contains 40 to 60 US gallons of water and can use electricity, solar, propane or natural gas as an energy source. These tanks can last between 8 to 12 years. An advantage of this tank is that it uses the energy at a slow rate. However as time goes, the water will cool down. This will cause the tank to start the heating process all over again. Also when the tank is empty it will take a while for hot water to be available again.