Is your water heater starting to fail? If so, you'll be looking into a new unit to replace it. The good news is that you do not have to buy an identical water heater to replace the old one. You can view a broken water heater as an opportunity to upgrade the appliance to one that will best fit your needs. Here are a couple of things you’ll need to decide.
Traditional vs. Tankless
You most likely had a traditional hot water tank in your home. While they will get the job done, you may want to consider a tankless variant instead.
Traditional Hot Water Heater
A traditional hot water tank will heat and store the water until it is ready to use. The tank must operate at all times to do so, even when you are not home or away on vacation. This quality can cause you to waste energy heating hot water that you are not even using.
The main benefit of using a traditional hot water tank is that the hot water will be ready to use. If you have a large tank and several bathrooms in your home, several people can shower at the same time. The hot water may be gone when you finish, but the tank is capable of outputting hot water to multiple faucets as long as it is in the tank.
Tankless Hot Water Heater
A tankless water heater is very energy efficient, since it only heats the water on demand when it is in use. You don't have to worry about energy waste with this version, which makes it great for a summer home that you do not frequently visit.
The main drawback is how low-end models may not be able to keep up with demand from multiple faucets. This limitation can be problematic when you have a family that all showers in the morning or when you want to do the laundry, shower, and wash dishes at the same time.
You can determine the correct power of a tankless water heater by looking at the flow rate of the tank and comparing it to the flow rate of all the potential simultaneous uses. For example, each shower uses between 2.5 and 3 gallons per minute. If two people are showering at the same time each morning, you need a tankless water heater that can produce between 5-6 gallons per minute at a minimum.
Gas vs Electric Fuel Source
The fuel source for your water heater can be just as important as the heater itself.
Many homeowners find that it’s much cheaper to run a water heater on gas since the fuel is more affordable compared to electricity. Of course, this savings will vary depending on what the cost of natural gas is in your area. For traditional tanks, a gas fuel source will help the tank heat new water quickly, creating minimal downtime if you do run out of water.
An added benefit of natural gas is that it will continue to heat your water even if you have a power outage. While power outages may be few and far between, you will at least be able to have hot water when your electricity is out.
While using electricity for a water heater has its downfalls, the units tend to be more efficient when compared to their gas counterparts. Especially when it comes to a traditional tank, electric models will not have the pilot light that must always remain lit and consume energy. This feature is important if you care about energy waste and the impact on the environment.
Electric tanks also do not require venting to get rid of dangerous fumes, so you can install the tank anywhere. This means you can use an electric water heater if it is located in an interior closet within your home.
Once you decide on the hot water heater that you want, know that Hansen Plumbing Inc. can help with the installation.