Tips & Resources
A water heater is an investment and not something that occurs often. Therefore, you will want to do your due diligence before purchasing one. Here are just a few of the things you need to consider when buying a water heater.
Carefully considering your options before shopping can help you make a more informed decision and give you the best return on your investment.
Most residential water heaters run on gas or electricity, and the gas water heaters will be further divided between natural gas and propane heaters. Gas water heaters generally have a higher up-front cost and require special ventilation. However, gas typically costs less than electricity and so operating costs are lower.
Tank storage heaters are the most common type of water heater used in the United States. However, because the water is continuously heating in the tank, tank heaters use more energy and increase utility bills than tankless water heaters.
Energy-efficient models reduce the amount of heat lost during storage and convert energy to heat more efficiently. Look for the EF Rating on the tank to see if it meets federal energy standards.
Other factors to consider are space and your existing power source. If you want to upgrade to a larger water heater, make sure you have the space for the larger tank. Special water heaters, known as lowboys, are available for tight accommodations, or you may want to consider a tankless water heater instead.
If your current water heater runs on electricity, switching to a gas-powered heater may not be easily accomplished. It is much easier to switch from a gas heater to electric, although you still may need the services of an electrician.
At first glance, tankless water heaters seem to hold all the advantages. They are smaller, use less energy, and have a longer lifespan than tank heaters. However, the up-front cost is much higher, and if overtaxed, they may not be able to keep up with demand.
Tankless water heaters also require non-traditional setups, and you may need to hire a contractor to reroute gas lines or add new venting.
Once you’ve decided on the type of water heater you wish to purchase, you need to look at brands and models. Check the manufacturer’s warranty for coverage and stipulations. Will you need to get regular maintenance? Does the warranty cover labor or parts only? How long does it stay in effect?
Before purchasing your new water heater, consider your options so you can choose the right solution for your needs.