Whether you’re in the market for a water heater as a replacement for your current unit or you’re searching for one to place in a brand new home or office, it will behoove you to investigate a few key points and options available before you make a final purchase. By educating yourself and becoming familiar with various opportunities and options, you’ll ensure that you’ll get the best unit for the best price with the best features for the structure in which it will serve.
One of the biggest choices you’ll need to make is whether to purchase a tankless water heater or a tank water heater. A tank style will heat and store hot water, and a tankless heats water only when you need it via a series of mega-heated coils. There are pros and cons to both types, most notably:
Tank Water Heater Pros:
- Proven technology that works great
- Operating costs are about half that of a tankless heater
- Easier, faster installation
- Can deliver large volumes of hot water
Tank Water Heater Cons:
- The system is always on, heating water even when it’s not needed
- Only 70% of water in the tank is usable, creating a 30% energy loss
- Lifespan is relatively short, usually 12 years
Tankless Water Heater Pros:
- You’ll never run out of hot water
- Cheaper than a tank heater
- Can be installed just about anywhere in the house
- 20-year average lifespan
Tankless Water Heater Cons:
- Upfront cost can be double the cost of a tank water heater
- Special piping and venting is required; retrofitting a home for it can be expensive
- Electric-fired units do not have Energy Star ratings
- Can only handle smaller demands than what a tank can handle
The next consideration for you will be whether you’ll want a gas vs. electric unit:
- A gas unit will still function during a power outage, and an electric one will not
- Lifespans for both are about the same (12 years)
- An electric model has a recovery rate of 14 gallons per hour, while a gas model recovers about 50 gallons per hour
- Electric models are about 90% energy efficient, compared to 60-70% for gas models
- Pricing for lower-end models for both types is about the same, starting at about $300
- Cost over a 12-year lifespan is slightly lower for a gas model at just under $5,000 compared to $6300 for an electric model
A few additional options and points you’ll want to keep in mind: How big of a water heater are you really going to need? Remember that bigger is not always better; for tank units, these are operating literally non-stop, so if you have an enormous unit that you don’t really use to its full capacity, you’ll be wasting an awful lot of money and energy.
To figure out the size you’ll need, start with finding out your FHR, or First Hour Rating. This is the amount of water that will be used during the time of day when there is the highest demand, and is often either early in the morning or in the evening. Count the number of people in your household and add one. Multiply that number by 12, and that is your home’s FHR. Be sure (if you go with a tank) that you get one with enough gallons as its size to cover your FHR.
Looking for a Replacement Water Heater?
Let’s touch on figuring out if your unit needs to be replaced, for those of you who have a unit but aren’t sure if you should purchase a new one or not. If you spot any of these instances below, you’ll want to call on Plumber Tom and let us help you with a new water heater for less than anyone else in the area:
- The water never gets hot enough, even if you turn the dial all the way up
- The water is not clear when it comes out
- The water doesn’t get hot at all
- Do you notice any strange odors or a metallic taste? This is a sure sign of a dying unit.
- Are you hearing any loud pops or cracks coming from the unit? The heating element may be failing.
- If there are any leaks or water around your unit, this requires an immediate call to us at Plumber Tom; it’s indicative of a major internal failure.
- Is your system more than 10 years old? You’ll want to replace it before disaster strikes the old unit.
Keep in mind that it’s always best to call on the professionals here at Plumber Tom to replace your water heater. You want to make sure your family is not only well taken care of, but that any installation is done correctly and safely according to code. While the average national cost of a new water heater installation can range from about $900 to $3,000 or more, Plumber Tom will beat any quote by 10%! Call on Plumber Tom today, don’t wait!