How to Choose a New Water Heater

Apr 12, 2018

There’s a lot to think about when you are choosing a new water heater for your home.  Here are four major factors to consider:

Fuel type

Based on the availability and cost, you should consider what fuel type will work best for your needs. Natural gas and electricity are two of the most common fuel types, but water heaters can also run on oil, geothermal energy, propane and solar power.

new water heater


Ask your plumber to help you determine how much hot water you will need for your family.  A new water heater that is too small might mean that someone is stuck taking cold showers.   A water heater that is too big could leave you spending money heating water that you don’t need.

When choosing a storage water heater, the goal is to match your home’s peak hot water demand to the “first hour rating” listed on the new equipment’s Energy Guide label. Different sizing techniques are required if you choose a solar or tankless water heater.

Energy Efficiency

When choosing a water heater you want to think about both the initial cost of a water heater and the long term operating costs.  Lower operational costs over a lifetime can make a larger upfront investment worthwhile. Compare the energy factor (EF) of different water heaters to help you make the best choice, or ask your plumber for help.

Many people are switching to tankless water heaters instead of immediately deciding on a storage water heater. They can be more energy efficient and may be just what you’re looking for.

Total Cost of Ownership

To make your selection easier, calculate the annual operating cost of various new water heaters to find out which model will save you the most money in the long run. Remember, more energy efficient models usually have higher initial price tags, but significant savings every month can help the unit pay for itself in time. Plus, units that have a longer projected lifespan save you money by delaying future replacements.

For more information about tankless and conventional water heaters, make sure to check out our Water Heaters Page.

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