Beyond the many other decisions that you need to make as you buy a water heater (tank vs. tankless, gas vs. electric, sizing), here are a few other matters that you should keep in mind as you make your choice.
Hopefully, you won’t be so overwhelmed that you simply click on the first heater that you see on a website.
Options and Considerations
Keep in mind these factors as you prepare to buy a water heater:
- How long do you plan to stay in your home?
If you are going to move in a few years or less, a hybrid or solar heater doesn’t make as much sense, due to high start-up costs. If you are going to stay in your home for a decade or more, these options look more attractive as you spread huge energy savings over an extended amount of time, justifying your large investment.
- Do you care about the environment?
Then go maximum energy efficiency on any model that you buy; the greenest options are solar and hybrid heaters.
- What type of heater is your home fitted for?
If it doesn’t have a gas line in the basement, you might need to do extensive renovations to prep it. If you are moving into a home or have already approved the floor plan of a home that you are building, make sure that it can accommodate the type of heater that you want. This comes into play when you consider solar as well, obviously. The layout of your home and heater that is already there, if you are buying an existing home, might make your choice of heater easy.
- How much space do you want to give up to a water heater? And where?
If you want to tuck a water heater into a closet near the kitchen, you have to go electric. If you want your heater to take up almost no space, think tankless.
- Warranties vary on water heaters.
Compare and get a warranty that will cover the major parts for an extended amount of time. If your warranty requires frequent maintenance, be prepared to drain and fill your tank heater at least once a year and perhaps take other measures to reduce sediment and rust.
Do you want to buy a water heater stand? These lift your gas unit off the ground and reduce your fire hazard. They also can help to keep your heater safe if your basement is prone to flooding now and then.
- Valves on water heaters have been known to break off or malfunction. Do you want to pay a little more for a brass valve, rather than a plastic one?
Get to know your heater early so that you can possibly service it yourself with spare parts, when needed.
- Water heater pans can come in handy as leaks and overflows result from excess pressure in a tank heater. These pans come with an opening to get rid of excess water when hooked up to a drain hose. These pans also can come with alarms that alert you to overflows.
- You can also purchase pressure regulators for your heater to keep the pressure from exceeding the proper limit for your tank as water is delivered. This will protect your pipes from leaking or busting due to excess pressure.
- Timers can be wired to your electric heater to make sure that it only heats water during specified hours. This can save you big bucks in energy costs.
- Blankets are now used for many water heaters. They fit over the unit snugly and help to insulate that hot water that is emitting heat into the air all around it. If your heater is in a garage or other unheated area, these are great investment.