Homeowners question which water heater is right for their home, and with good reason. There are countless heaters available, with little to no clear direction on which one is right for their usage and budget.
Another issue that arises is selecting the correct brand. While some claim to offer more features or are better suited for particular environments, none are exempt from flaws. There is no “one size fits all” water heater. Instead, you have to analyze what’s available and see which one would be right for your home.
To give you a better idea of how to choose the right water heater, we’ve provided a brief overview of how the experts make their selection and how you can too.
Start With Capacity
The majority of water heaters are priced and sold according to how many gallons they hold in their tank. Some, like a two or four-person water tank, hold enough for three showers, a load of laundry, a load in the dishwasher and turning on and off the faucet several times. However, what you really need to look at is the first-hour rating (FHR) and the gallons-per-minute rating (GPM). The FHR for storage tank heaters and the GPM for tankless heaters, are more important because they show you how much hot water can be delivered with the tank. A professional can help you sort out these ratings.
The core types of water heaters are storage-tank heaters, tankless heaters, hybrid electric heaters, solar heaters, and condensing gas water heaters. Once you know the capacity you require, you can look closer at the features available.
Storage Tank Water Heaters
For example, storage-tank heaters heat cold water that enters the tank via piping and then send it throughout the home through the plumbing system. Gas fuels the process, which means you’ll pay more for the unit. But once you make it past the initial price tag, you’ll save roughly 50 percent on your fuel costs according to national surveys.
Tankless units are much smaller than storage tanks since they run on an instantaneous heating system. Using either a heating coil system or natural gas, they heat water via a heat exchanger. Their greatest selling point is the fact that your energy costs are lowered and there is no risk of tank failure. However, they can produce cooler water than one might like, and aren’t ideal for larger households.
Additional Factors to Consider
In addition to capacity and type, you also need to consider your daily usage, heating source, and extra features.
Obviously, your daily usage directly affects how well suited your tank will be for your needs. Consider how often you would be refilling a tank and the costs of doing so before purchasing a water heater.
Another helpful point to keep in mind is the heating source. If you opt for a smaller tank, you may end up refilling it several times a day, depending on usage. For natural gas, you can expect a more affordable bill. For electric heating, you will spend more on energy costs and less on the model. Your budget should ultimately decide these factors.
Choosing the right water heater may seem like a painful task, but if you do a bit of research and shop with a professional on your side, you can find the ideal water heater within budget and suited according to your needs.