When you think of where all you energy dollars go every month you most likely think of lighting, your appliances, your air conditioning unit and let’s not forget your heater, but we tend to overlook the expense of heating our water in relation to our energy consumption. Did you know that 25% of your energy dollars goes towards heating the water in your home for your daily needs such as showers, laundry and using your dishwasher? Water heaters have come a long way in the last decade and today’s models are much more energy efficient than the one in your Grandparents’ basement. If you feel your energy bills are on the rise, consider taking a look at your water heater and upgrading to a more efficient model. In the simplest terms think of your water heater like a car’s gas mileage. Some cars get 15 miles to the gallon while others get 40 on the same gallon of gas. Don’t just consider the initial price of purchasing a new water heater, think of how much it costs to operate and you could save hundreds of dollars.
There are three main factors to consider when in the market for a new water heater and those are:
- Water Storage
What type of fuel….gas or electric?!
One of the first decisions you will have to make is whether you want to purchase an electric or gas water heater. Check to see what type of water heater you have now might help make your mind of regarding which type because you may only have a natural gas outlet or and electric outlet available so you don’t buy the wrong one. Here are the biggest differences between the two fuels.
- Must be safely vented to the outdoors
- Can require a slightly larger upfront cost
- Usually will cost less to operate
- Is not affected by power outages
- Increased safety
- Usually costs less than gas water heaters
- Heats up your water quickly
- Offers high energy factor ratings
- Very easy to maintain
Water Storage…conventional or tankless?
So what is the difference between the two? Conventional tank water heaters store water in an insulated tank until it is needed. Tankless units do not store water, but rather heat it by running it through coils.
- More economical
- 20 to 80 gallon capacity ranges
- Can we placed in a closet, garage or basement
- Do your homework because efficiency varies between different models & brands
- Can be a larger upfront investment
- Installed on a wall, freeing up space
- Can reduce energy consumption by as much as 30%
- Can run out of hot water during heavier usage
- Must be ventilated
Function – What type of capacity?
It is very important that you select a water heater that provides enough hot water for your home because purchasing one that is undersized will have to work harder and have shorter lifespan. If you purchase a conventional water heater, you can determine your proper capacity based on the number of bathrooms and bedrooms in your home.
|Number of Bathrooms||1-1.5||2.2.5||3-3.5|
|Number of Bedrooms||1 2 3||2 3 4 5||3 4 5 6|
|Minimum Tank Size||20/30/40||50/50/50/60||50/60/60/80|
Additional features to look for:
- Self-cleaning – water heaters with this feature automatically fight lime and sediment buildup
- Recovery Speed – If you have a tendency to use a lot of hot water look for a model with a fast recovery speed.
- Automatic Shutoff Valve – will prevent fires by shutting off the flow of gas if there is movement in the ground or the gas flow experiences a sudden increase.