Most people rely on their hot water heater to provide them with warm or hot water on demand. This hot water may be used to wash hands in the sink, to bathe or shower with and more. This is a home appliance that you may not think much about but that you rely on multiple times per day. As with other types of appliances, however, your current hot water heater will eventually meet the end of its useful life. Some homeowners do opt to replace an existing hot water heater for a more energy efficient model or for a higher capacity model before it wears out. Whether you are being forced to replace a hot water heater that has gone kaput or you are opting to upgrade your hot water heater, you now need to make the decision about which model to buy.
The Energy Source
There are many different types of hot water heaters, but they all will rely on an energy source to heat your water. This energy source most commonly is electricity or natural gas. However, there are other types energy that may be used by hot water heaters including solar, oil and propane. Keep in mind that some types of hot water heaters are designed to be more energy efficient than others. For example, a heat pump model is one that utilizes electricity as its heat source, but generally, a heat pump model uses far less energy than other electric models. The energy rating of hot water heaters is noted with most models, which makes it easier for a buyer to determine which model will result in lower utility bills with use. Most buyers will opt to buy a model that uses the same energy source as their current model.
Another factor to consider when shopping for a new hot water heater is if you should buy a tankless model. Many homeowners are retiring their tank hot water heater for a tankless model. A traditional tank water heater stores heated water in a tank. This tank may hold dozens of gallons of hot water that can be run through the pipes in your home and delivered to your shower, water faucet and more. It is less energy efficient and less user-friendly than a tankless model, however. To use a tank water heater, you generally have to leave the water running for a few minutes to allow the cold water to pass through the pipes first. When you use a tankless model, the water is heated on-demand. It is available almost immediately after turning the faucet on. Water is heated as it is used, so less energy is used. Further, a tank water heater may eventually run out of hot water. Because water is heated on-demand with a tankless model, you will never run out of water with a tankless water heater.
One drawback that many people find with a tankless water heater is that it can only provide a limited amount of hot water at a time. It may heat water indefinitely for your home use, but a single heater can only heat so much water at a time. So if the dishwasher is on and several people are trying to take a warm shower at the same time, the tank may not be able to keep up with the immediate demand required in the home. Some warm water may be available, but the temperature of the water may not be suitable for all users. With this in mind, many homes that have higher demands for hot water may benefit from having multiple tankless water heaters installed.
It can be difficult to determine which hot water heater is best suited for your needs and budget. However, by taking note of your purchasing budget, your home’s hot water consumption and the energy sources available to use, you can more easily narrow down the options and find the right model for your home.