Water Heater Buying Guide

Water Heater Buying Guide

If your hot water heater has a 12-year guarantee and it’s been in service for 15, it may be time to obtain a brand-new one.

In houses with tough water, which can be tougher on water heaters, a heating unit may fail within the service warranty period.

If you have not replaced your hot water heater in a couple of years, you’ll discover more options– and more energy-efficient policies– so do your research. You may need to spend more in advance for a model that will conserve you loan in time.

Water heating totals up to nearly 20 percent of a home’s energy expenses. As the result of brand-new effectiveness standards, hot water heater under 55 gallons will see about a 4 percent increase in performance, while water heaters 55 gallons or more might cut your energy costs by 25 to 50 percent depending upon the technology used.

It’s a good idea to speak with a professional or a producer to totally understand the brand-new policies. Keep in mind: We do not presently have Water Heater Scores, but have the ability to use this buying guide, which includes handy pointers and recommendations.

Consider Capacity

Many hot water heater are offered on the basis of how many gallons they hold. A household of 4, for example, might take several showers, run the dishwasher, and wash a load or 2 of laundry in an average day, totalling 100 gallons of warm water or more. However that does not mean they require a 100 gallon storage tank.

It’s more vital to consider the first-hour rating (FHR) for storage-tank hot water heater and the gallons-per-minute score (GPM) for tankless hot water heater because that’s what tells you how much hot water the heater can deliver over a set time period, i.e., the first hour.

After that, depending upon how rapidly you’re consuming warm water, it could either end up being less hot or really cool. It would then take a specific amount of time (variable by design and capacity) to go back to its full FHR. A pro can assist you calculate how much capacity you’ll need.

And while an on-demand water heater doesn’t “hold” any water (unless it has an auxiliary tank), it has a rating of how much hot water it can produce in a provided duration, called the GPM (for Gallons Per Minute). You get constant hot water unless you draw from multiple sources at once, e.g., a shower and the dishwasher. If you frequently do this, you may consider two systems.

And do not presume a new hot water heater will fit where your old one was. Because of increased insulation and other effectiveness enhancements, some newer designs may be wider and/or taller than your old hot water heater.

Types of Water Heater

Depending on how much hot water you use and how you’re warming the water (gas, oil, electrical power), there are several choices. Some types declare to cut energy expenses by approximately half that of routine storage designs. But their included up-front costs indicate its repayment might take a while.

Storage Tank Water Heater

Water Heater Buying Guide


Tank are the most common kind of water heater. As the name recommends, these include an insulated tank in which water is warmed and saved up until needed, then emerges from a pipeline on top of the hot water heater.

There is also a temperature and pressure-relief valve, which opens if either exceeds a predetermined level.

Natural gas hot water heater typically use less energy and cost less to run (by about half) than electric hot water heater, although you should keep in mind that gas designs cost more at the time of purchase.

Tankless (On-Demand) Water Heater

Water Heater Buying Guide

Rather than storing water, tankless hot water heater use heating coils to heat up the water as you require it. They’re more energy-efficient than a tank, however offer just a minimal flow of warm water per minute– about 3.5 gallons.

They’re best for people who typically aren’t drawing water for more than one use at a time– running a shower and dishwasher all at once.

Tankless designs are best for houses that use natural gas to warm the water; electrical designs might need an expensive upgrade of the home’s electrical capability.

Heat Pump (Hybrid) Water Heater

Water Heater Buying Guide

These capture heat from the air and transfer it to the water. They use about 60 percent less energy than standard electric water heaters. And while they cost more than electric-only models, installation is comparable and payback time is brief. However they do not work well in very cold spaces and have to be placed in an area that remains 40 to 90 degrees.

And due to the fact that the heat pump is on top, a hybrid hot water heater needs as much as 7-feet clearance from floor to ceiling. You’ll also need up to 1,000 cubic feet of uncooled space to capture sufficient heat from the air along with a close-by drain to discharge the condensate.

Solar Water Heater

Water Heater Buying Guide

A roof-mounted cell takes in the sun’s heat and transfers it to an antifreeze-like fluid in a closed-loop system that runs to the water tank. The best deliver stellar savings in summer season, making them attractive for warm, bright regions. However cost savings suffer on cold and cloudy days. A lot of designs employ a backup system that kicks in when needed.
Even with federal and regional refunds, what you’ll invest to purchase and install a planetary system can mean you wait 10 to 30 years to recover your costs.

Condensing Water Heater

Water Heater Buying Guide

Condensing hot water heater are an alternative if you heat with gas and require an unit with a capacity of more than 55 gallons.

These designs have a tank like a traditional water heater, but capture exhaust gases that would typically head out the flue, which wastes energy. These gases are blown through a coil in the base of the system, where incoming cold water can soak up most of the heat.

Need a Plumbing for the Install?

Whether you’re installing a new warm water heating unit or changing one that not works, you can employ a certified pro at Porch.com to handle the install. What’s Deck? The site links you with regional professionals to help with upkeep or renovating tasks, making home enhancement that much easier.

Features to Consider

Guarantee: Protection for most water heaters normally runs 3 to 12 years. While you’ll usually pay a bit more for longer-warranty models, we’ve discovered that they have the tendency to have bigger components or burners that can accelerate water heating and thicker insulation for less heat loss. Select a hot water heater with the longest guarantee available.

Anti-Scale Devices: Some brand names promote functions that are supposed to decrease buildup of mineral scale at the bottom of the tank by swirling the water. While scale can reduce the life of the heating element, you don’t need to buy fancy functions to obtain a long-lived hot water heater. Just look for one with a 12-year service warranty, which generally includes a longer or thicker component.

Brass vs. Plastic Drain Valves: These are located near the base of the water heater for a garden pipe for draining pipes the heating system. Search for brass drain valves, which are more resilient than plastic.

Glass-Lined Tanks: Designed to reduce deterioration.

Digital Displays: Help you keep track of levels and personalize operation. Some electric/heat-pump hybrid water heaters let you set a trip mode that uses just the heatpump for added efficiency when you’re away. Displays on solar hot water heater frequently reveal tank and collector temperature levels, along with pressure readings and other info.


Last updated on September 16th, 2019

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