Intro to Water Heater Guide
Water heaters perform a simple task (hint: it's in the name). Because of this, we often don't consider our water heater until it doesn't work, but there are are a few major points to consider when picking a new water heater for your home. Below, we'll cover the basic considerations that need to be made before selecting a water heater, and a few options that may make a water heater the perfect fit for your home.
The first thing you need to know when selecting a water heater is what kind of power source the heater will utilize. There are three major types available to you:
-Use one or more heating elements to warm the water
-Sizes range from 6 gallons up to 80 gallons for residential applications
-Typically the cheapest option up-front
-Naural gas or Propane
-Use a burner to produce heat
-Needs to be installed away from any combustible material
-Generally more expensive up-front than electric
-Better energy efficiency than electric
-Uses an element/ambient air to heat water
-Typically much larger physically than electric/gas
-Most expensive upfront option of all tank units
-Very energy efficient
-Available in less sizes than other units (50/80 gal)
Tank vs. Tankless
After we know what type of energy source your water heater will utilize, we can choose whether to install a tank style water heater or a tankless water heater.
Tank style/traditional water heaters have an insulated tank where heated water is stored until it's needed. Tankless heaters don't utilize a tank, but rather pass water through a series of heated coils to produce the warm water. Tankless heaters typically start at a higher up-front price than tanked versions. Before considering a tankless heater, it's best to try and calculate your families water usage. Tankless heaters provide continuous hot water, but only if your usage doesn't exceed what the heater can produce at a given time.
Another important factor in choosing a water heater is the physical size of the space where the heater will be installed. There is a heater for almost any space, from extra tall/thin models to "lowboy" heaters, which are about half the height of a standard unit.