28 Apr. 21

All You Need To Know About Dual-Element Water Heaters

If you are embarking on a search for a new water heater, you could be shocked to learn about all of the new technology available. For the most part, there are two camps. Some people love the latest trend in tankless water heaters. But many traditionalists are perfectly happy sticking to the standard tank-style unit that almost all of us grew up using. But did you know that there is now a new variation called a dual-element water heater? If the answer is no, keep reading to gather all the facts.

How A Dual-Element Water Heater Functions

The dual-element water heater is a new twist on the traditional electric water heater. As you might be aware, heating with electricity takes longer than doing the same job with gas. So electric water heaters always got a ding for being slower to heat a tank of water. But this new innovation is a way to level the playing field.

These units have two heating elements that are operated by independent thermostats. The top heating element heats the top half of the water to the desired temperature and then turns off. Then the lower heating element kicks in to heat the lower half of the water. You can almost think of it as having two water heaters. Each unit represents half of your hot water capacity. And as you would expect, it takes less time to heat 40 gallons of water than 80. And in this case, it takes less time to heat two 40 gallon tanks than one 80 gallon tank.

The Benefits Of Dual Heating Elements

The driver behind this innovation is energy efficiency. Having two heating elements that operate independently will use less power to heat the tank of water than a single heating element doing the same job. It goes back to the image of two smaller tanks instead of one bigger tank. Each element has a smaller amount of water to heat. And the water is in closer proximity to the heating element.

In addition, the lower workload of the dual heating elements means that they will have a longer life expectancy. And that equates to you enjoying more consistent hot water for possibly years longer than the service of a single heating element water heater.

The Drawbacks Of Dual Heating Element Water Heaters

Even though this innovation might sound perfect, it is essential to know that nothing is perfect. And in the case of the dual heating element water heater, maintenance and care are where it hits a snag. You are essentially doubling the maintenance and service for the heating elements in the tank. And when it comes to replacements, the heating elements are not interchangeable. So it can complicate the process of ordering a replacement.

Things To Consider

When you are shopping for a replacement water heater, it is essential to understand your current water heater’s specifications. You will want to work within certain parameters set by the current unit for the most cost-effective replacement. If you have a gas unit, replacing it with gas is the most economical option. And likewise for an electric unit. The next consideration is the holding tank’s size and how well that amount of hot water meets your household needs. Increasing the capacity will offer a growing family more hot water. However, empty nesters might decrease the unit size to save on the operating cost.

To learn more about dual-element water heaters and your replacement options, call (806) 787-6501. The licensed plumbers at Action Air & Plumbing are here to assist you in selecting the unit that will best meet your needs.