Whether your previous water heater has broken down or you’re just looking for an upgrade, buying the right water heater can drastically improve your home’s comfort. When buying a new water heater, look for these essential features—don’t just buy the first one you see! This quick guide will help you shop smart.
Type of Heater
What type of water heater do you have now? Is it adequate for your home’s needs?
Many homes have conventional water heaters with a reservoir to hold heated water until you need it. If you use a great deal of hot water in your house, consider replacing your old heater with a new one of a similar type. However, if you’re not using that much hot water and want to reduce your energy bills, consider whether a smaller, tankless water heater could be right for you.
While you may believe that bigger is always better, that’s not necessarily the case with home water heaters. Buying an oversized unit is a common mistake homeowners make when purchasing new heaters; a system that’s too large can place excess strain on your plumbing. Talk to your plumber about what size water heater will serve your home most efficiently.
Speaking of efficient service, look for a water heater that will conserve energy when you’re not using it! As you shop online or in person, seek out heating systems with an ENERGY STAR rating. That certification means that the heater is more efficient and requires less energy—it can save you hundreds of dollars a year on your utility bills!
What fuel do you want to heat the water in your system? You have a few options at your disposal:
- Natural gas heaters are some of the most popular systems in the U.S. They use a burner to ignite the fuel and a chimney to funnel waste products safely out of your home.
- Electric heaters are an excellent option for those who don’t need to heat large volumes of water. They’re less expensive up front and don’t require venting.
- Fuel oil heaters work similarly to gas heaters and are common in areas where natural gas isn’t available.
- Solar-powered heaters use panels on your rooftop to harvest energy from the sun to heat your water.
Depending on the fuel sources available, one type of water heater may be more feasible for you than another. Consult with a plumbing professional to discuss which fuel type will heat your home’s water most efficiently.
If you’re in the market to buy a new water heater, consider these elements as you shop. Choose a heater that’s sized appropriately for your home and look for one that will conserve as much energy as possible while keeping your home comfortable.