"There are two main types of water heaters: units that have an insulated storage tank to hold hot water until it is needed and “tankless” units, which only heat the water as it is needed.
Tankless models tend to be more energy efficient but have lower throughput—that is, produce less hot water in a given amount of time--than models with storage tanks. Both types of water heaters come in versions powered by electricity, natural gas, or liquid propane. In general, electric models cost the most to operate and are the least energy efficient.
Solar water heaters are starting to gain traction in the marketplace. They come in both passive and active configurations and can use several different types of collectors. Currently, solar water heaters are more expensive than other options but are typically cheaper to operate. Solar water heaters depend on line of sight access to sunlight, so carefully evaluate the proposed installation site with a professional before committing to solar."
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