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Blog May 14, 2014

The Water Heater Buyer’s Guide

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You can save a ton of energy for your home by using water wisely. Besides distributing water, one of the bigger consumers of electricity and gas in any home is your water heater.

If your water heater is more than 10 years old, it’s definitely time to start thinking of replacing it with a newer and more reliable and efficient one. Here’s what you need to look for when buying one:

1. When Precisely is a Good Time to Replace Your Water Heater?

Consumer Reports says to do this: See how many years you have left on your warranty. If the labor costs will cost less than $50 per year for the years remaining on the warranty, then keep the water heater. If not, replace it.

2. Choose the Right Capacity

You might want to consult with a professional on this, just to be sure. However, in general 2-4 people use around 80-85 gallons per day. You want the right capacity for your household because it takes energy to keep the water warm while it’s not in use.

3. Gas Water Heaters Cost Less to Run

In fact, they cost about half that of electric water heaters. This is based on the average cost of gas across the nation. Double-check the prices in you region just to make sure this is the case. They do cost much more up-front, but they pay back for themselves quickly – usually within a year or so.

4. Tankless Water Heaters

These water heaters eliminate the risk of tank failure, and they don’t need any energy to heat water when it’s not in use. They’re best for their convenience. They typically don’t save money because they cost much more to buy and install. While they heat water quickly, almost instantaneously, they often don’t heat it as well as you’d like. They also don’t push as much water through, so in larger households, not everyone may have access to the hot water they’d like.

5. Solar Water Heaters – Nice to Your Environment, Not Your Wallet

Yes they do use heat from the sun to produce electricity. And you can get federal and local rebates to offset some of their installation costs. Even if you do, it typically takes 10-30 years before their savings offsets their costs.

6. Get Water Heaters with the Longest Warranty

Warranties can last from 3-12 years – that’s a broad range! Longer warranties usually increase the cost of the water heater. However, water heaters with longer warranties usually have added conveniences like the ability to heat your water faster and thicker insulation, which leads to less heat loss and more energy savings.

So there you have it! That’s the basics of buying a water heater in today’s market. The traditional tank model is the way to go if you need a new water heater.

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