Things To Consider When Purchasing A New Water Heater
Water heaters are an investment and you want to make the right choice when buying a new one. Heating your water is the second largest expense in a home, it accounts for 14-18% of the utility bill each month. This averages out to each household spending between $400-$600 dollars per year to heat their water.
These statistics are the reason we need to put serious consideration into which heater we buy. It’s an important part of daily life and a large expense. The selection process to purchasing a new water heater is simple, you need to consider the fuel type, size and storage type, energy efficiency, and costs. Let’s look at each one of these aspects a little closer.
1. Fuel type and Availability
Did you know that there are several different kinds of water heaters? The fuel sources for conventional water heaters are commonly through electricity, propane or gas, and a heat pump or hybrid. Each fuel source comes with positives and negatives. Let’s break them down.
Electrical Water Tanks:
- Use one or two replaceable heating elements to heat your water
- Less expensive
- Have a variety of high-efficiency options available
Propane or Gas Water Tanks:
- Use a burner to heat water
- Need circulating air around it
- More expensive than electric water heaters
- Generally, more energy efficient than electric water heaters
Heat Pump or Hybrid Water Tanks:
- Uses energy from the air to heat the water (can use inside or outside air).
- Can be built in to tanks or added onto a tank.
- Larger than standard electric water heaters
- More expensive on front end, more energy efficient to save money on bills.
2. Size and Storage Type
Now it’s time to take into consideration the size and storage space of a water heater. When it comes to size, you want to ensure that you’ll have enough hot water when you use it. Tank size is really important because if you purchase a tank that is too small you will run out of water before you finish your shower, dishes, or laundry. If a tank that is too large will be paying more for heating water you won’t use. Calculate your household’s peak-hour hot water demand and use that to determine a proper water tank size. After finding the proper size that works for your home, the next step is to consider what kind of tank.
Storage Tanks vs Tankless or On-Demand
Storage tanks are the most common type of water heaters, classified by the amount of water the tank can hold. These have a tank where the water is heated and stored inside until it’s needed. Tankless or On-Demand do not store hot water, they heat it as it passes through the coils into the unit. It only heats water when you need/use it.
Tankless water heaters are more energy efficient than traditional storage tanks and they produce more gallons of water per minute than many other systems. Their flow rate of hot water is limited and not typically recommended for people using more than two hot water spots at once on a regular basis.
3. Energy Efficiency
Energy Factor (EF), this is the main thing to look for when trying to find out how efficient the water heater is because it helps you estimate how much water produced per unit of fuel is consumed over a typical day. The higher the energy factor, the more efficient the water heater is. It’s also important to know that the EF factor will be different for each kind of water heater. It’s determined by:
- Recovery Efficiency. How efficiently the heat from the fuel is transferred to the water. Recovery is important depending on size and how much water you use. If the rate is slow you will run out of hot water while you need it.
- Standby Losses. This is the percentage of the heat loss per hour from the stored water compared to the water’s heat.
- Cycling Losses. The loss of heat as water circulates through a tank or pipes.
- Water heater purchase costs
- Installation costs
- Operating costs
- Maintenance costs
A higher energy efficient water heater doesn’t necessarily mean lower costs per month. Factor in energy efficiency after everything else has been looked at if cost is your top priority.
4. Additional Costs
When purchasing a new water heater it is important to look at the big picture. Make sure to ask a representative about these four costs. Doing so can help you make the best decision for you and your home:
Ready to Purchase A New Water Heater?
Shamrock Plumbing gives you every advantage in evaluating and selecting a water heater that is compatible with your home and budget. Call us today at (801) 505-9505 for a free estimate and consultation, and to find out how you can reduce your home energy costs with our energy efficient water heaters.