If you are looking for a new water heater to buy, there are some factors to consider. In the beginning, it’s important to analyze all the different types of water heaters, and which would be the best for your home.
Conventional storage water heaters or tankless water heaters happen to be the two most installed household choices.
The next decision is choosing either a gas or electric water heater. Both types come with their own benefits and disadvantages. Just like any major purchase, it is always best to do your research first and weigh out the most favorable option.
Right now, you may have a certain model or type in mind for your home. Before making that final decision, here are some details about two of the main types of hot water heaters, and their gas and electric variations.
Storage Water Heater
Also known as conventional water heaters, these are the traditional long cylindrical models typically found in most homes. They’re much bigger than tankless water heaters and include a storage tank that can hold 20-80 gallons of hot water at a time.
Stored hot water releases from the top of the tank, and is replaced by incoming cold water from the bottom. Because of the limited amount of water the tank can hold, it is possible to run out of hot water if under heavy use.
To keep the water in the tank hot, either gas or electricity has to constantly stay running. As a result, your energy bills could see a rise in higher monthly costs. However, because of heavier insulation in newer models, it is becoming increasingly common to see storage water heaters use less energy than before.
Conventional water heaters are in fact more cost-efficient during the installation process. They don’t require any extra piping or wiring so they make for a much easier installation than a tankless option.
Making the switch to an electric water heater will cost a little more since the installation process involves a much different setup. Luckily, with conventional storage water heaters, this setup provides an average lifespan between 10-15 years.
Tankless Water Heater
Often seen as the much more energy-efficient choice, tankless water heaters only provide hot water when needed. As hot water runs out, cold water enters the unit and is met with a gas burner or electric heating element that provides a continuous flow of hot water — about 2-5 gallons per minute.
Depending on your household size, it may be wise to consider installing multiple tankless water heaters. While they are energy efficient, their limited flow rate prevents hot water use in multiple rooms at the same time.
If a second water heater is needed, The Bradford White Electric series, for example, offers smaller models that can fit under the sink or on another wall in the basement to help increase the amount of hot water for the home.
Tankless water heaters are known for their long-term savings. The initial cost of purchase and installation is much higher than a storage water heater. However, over time, with the amount of money saved each month, the water heater will pay for itself.
According to Energystar.gov, tankless water heaters can be up to 35% more energy efficient compared to conventional storage models. Also, they tend to last more than 20 years, almost double the lifespan of a storage water heater; making them the more economical choice when finding the right water heater to buy.
Gas Water Heaters
After deciding between a storage water heater and a tankless water heater, the next step is to figure out whether a gas or electric model is the right choice for your home.
Initially, conventional gas storage water heaters tend to cost significantly more than an electric version. But over time, the cost to run a gas hot water tank is said to be less because of the lower cost of natural gas compared to electricity.
However, because of rising gas prices and the need for a continuously burning pilot light, there is thought that over time, gas water heaters will end up costing you more.
Gas water heaters are known to produce hot water quicker than electric models because of the higher amount of water a unit can heat over a period of time (recovery rate), and how much hot water the tank gives off in the first hour (first-hour rating).
This makes them a better choice for a large home that uses a lot of hot water simultaneously.
Electric Water Heaters
Electric water heaters have a much friendlier cost than gas models. Initially, electric water heaters tend to be nearly half the price of their gas equivalent. They are also slightly more energy-efficient because of their higher energy factor (EF) — the measured amount of hot water produced by the hot water heater compared to the amount of fuel used to power it.
Electric water heaters alone can reduce energy usage by as much as 40%. So, if energy efficiency is one of your home’s top deciding factors, then electricity may be the right type of water heater to buy for your house.
Installation can be a little more difficult and time-consuming than gas hot water heaters. While gas models only require reconnecting the gas lines to the new tank, electric versions may require additional wiring, especially if it is the first electric heater being installed.
Finally, when thinking about purchasing an electric water heater, it is important to remember that if the power in your home goes out, a tankless water heater will not be able to produce any hot water.
As for electric storage water heaters, unless the power comes back on before the hot water tank runs out, you are working with a limited amount of hot water for the household.
Choosing a new water heater to buy is truly an important decision to think about. With the proper research, it should be easier to find out which style is the most beneficial for your household. If you are still undecided about which model to go with, contact us at About Plumbing Inc. Not only will our licensed and certified plumbing technicians provide you with a recommendation for the best model, but they are also able to make installations and repairs to all types of conventional storage or tankless water heaters out there.
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