Shopping for hot water heaters can be a daunting prospect if you don’t know what you are looking for. There are many factors to consider, but finding the right one is easier if you go properly armed with information. Hot water heaters are in every house and can account for up to 25% of monthly energy expenses so a hasty decision can not only cost you more money than necessary, but also cause you to end up with the wrong appliance for your needs.
Conventional tank storage hot water heaters are the most common type of heater and many homeowners stick with this due to its popularity, ease of installation and comparatively low price. Tankless hot water heaters are a more energy efficient alternative by eliminating the large tanks, but may not be the best choice for households that consume a high amount of water throughout the day.
Water demand is a key factor while shopping for hot water heaters. This is affected by the size of your household as well as how much water each member uses. These factors go into deciding which tank size is needed from the hot water heaters. A 30 gallon tank is a good size for a two person household and a general rule of thumb is to add another ten gallons per member of the household, but more water may be needed if multiple appliances are often used simultaneously. The tendency may be to go for a bigger tank than needed to be on the safe side, but bigger is not always better. A tank that is too big for your household needs can greatly impact energy efficiency, which increases the overall operating costs.
The cost of hot water heaters goes beyond the initial purchase price and installation. Operating costs are impacted by the fuel type used to power the heater. Hot water heaters can be fueled by electricity, fuel oil, geothermal energy, solar power, natural gas and propane. The specific type of fuel you choose to use is impacted first by availability. Contact your utility provider to see which fuel options are available. If you have multiple choices, compare the costs of each type to help decide which of the hot water heaters best suits your need. If the disparity is large enough, it may even be worthwhile to switch fuels from what is already being used with your current system.
Another aspect of hot water heaters to be aware of is insulation. Quality insulation helps save money not just through improved energy efficiency but also extends the life of the heater by preventing corrosion, rust and other damage. If you are upgrading your current water heater for one that includes a larger tank you may need to make improvements to the plumbing as well.
Once you have compared the types of hot water heaters and have found the heater that best suits your needs combined with the fuel you have chosen to power it, all that remains is to ensure that your heater comes with a good warranty. All these factors should lead you to the best heater for your home.