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How to Choose Which Type of Water Heater You Need

Choose the Best Type of Water Heater for Your Needs by Considering the Following Factors

On average, 18 percent of a household’s energy use is spent on heating water. When it’s time to upgrade your water heater, either because yours finally failed or you’re just ready for a more efficient model, you want to choose one that will save money while giving you all the hot water you need.

When you go online or in the store to scope out your selection, however, you may get lost sifting through the hundreds of brands, types, ratings, and prices of water heaters. At Central Plumbing Co., we’ve put together a list of criteria to help you narrow down your search and start looking in the right direction. For more information on water heaters or for help in selecting the best one for you, call us!

  1. Decide Which Type of Water Heater is Best for YouImage of water heater installed in new home

The first big decision you’ll need to make is what type of water heater you want. Each type comes with its pros and cons in cost, life expectancy, and efficiency. Consider whether you have the space for the larger types as well.

  • Conventional Storage Water Heaters – These are generally the most popular type of water heaters available. Storing a large amount of water in your home, it heats water in a tank and then distributes it throughout your home. It has a low initial cost but can waste energy as the water cools when the heater isn’t running, meaning it can cost you more to run throughout its lifetime. It has a moderate life expectancy of 10-15 years.
  • Tankless Water Heaters – This type of water heater is great for people who have limited space for a heater as it can fit in a cabinet. Another positive of this type of heater is that it has a life expectancy of 20+ years. The downside is that the initial cost is higher than other water heaters. That negative is offset by its high efficiency and ability to supply constant hot water if you aren’t running too many sources at a time in your home.
  1. Know the Fuel Types for a Water Heater

There are several different types of fuel you can select from when choosing a water heater. Some are better for certain areas, budgets, and sizes of water heaters. Be sure to keep this criterion in mind when selecting your water heater. Fuels to select from include:

  • Electric – One of the most popular choices, it uses large coils powered by electricity to heat your water. It can be less efficient in heating large amounts of water than other fuel sources. However, it is usually less expensive in the initial buying process.
  • Natural Gas – Uses a gas burner to heat your water and must have a vent to the outside air to expel the carbon dioxide and other vapors produced. This fuel type generally has a higher up-front cost but costs less over time thanks to higher efficiency ratings.
  • Propane – Uses a gas burner to heat your water as well, but you must have a large propane tank installed on your property and access to a propane supplier.
  • Solar – Converts the sun’s heat into energy to heat your water. It is generally a good option for people living where it is continuously warm and sunny. This fuel type can have a higher initial cost but can save you up to 80 percent on your water heating bill down the road. Many consumers also pair this with a more conventional style water heater for days when they don’t have enough sun to heat water.
  1. Consider How Big of a Water Heater You Need or How Much Water You NeedImage of automatic type of water heater in a home

When choosing a water heater, another important aspect you will need to consider is size. While this may not matter for tankless water heaters, it will matter for conventional storage water heaters, regardless of fuel source. Whether you have a solar-powered, electric-powered, or gas-powered storage water heater, you will need to consider how big of a tank you need for your home. Starting as low as 30 gallons and going up to 55 gallons and more, the size you buy will depend on how many people live in your home and how much water you use daily.

On average, people use 20 gallons of water for a shower, so if you have four people who live in your home and they each take a shower, that’s already 80 gallons of water. Add in a load of laundry, running the dishwasher, and general washing your hands and using the bathroom, and you may be talking about a 100-gallon tank. Talk to Central Plumbing to better estimate what size tank you need for your home.

  1. Think About the Water Heater’s Efficiency When Choosing

When choosing a water heater, you’ll also want to check how efficient it is compared with others. You may think you’re getting a good deal on a cheap water heater only to find out later that it costs two or three times as much to run throughout the year, causing significant increases to your bills.

Energy efficiency is determined by how much water is heated per unit of fuel used. It also factors in if there is any heat loss throughout the process. Look for an energy-efficient rated water heater and talk to your water heater supplier as different types may be rated in a way that is not comparable.

Other Factors to Consider When Choosing a Type of Water Heater

  • Warranty
  • Installation Cost
  • Vent Installation Requirements
  • Insulation
  • Corrosion Resistance
  • Display Options

If you need help choosing a water heater for your home, call the experts at Central Plumbing Co. We’ll help you choose the best one for your home, budget, and needs.

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