Water Heater

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Water Heater Buying Guide

Bathroom and garden tub

The first decision to make is what type of fuel source do you have in your home? Once you know your fuel source, it is easier to choose a water heater that best fits your needs. Here are the differences among electric, gas/propane and hybrid fuel types.

Electric

  • Uses one or two replaceable heating elements to heat water
  • Less expensive than other types
  • Variety of high-efficiency options available
  • Size range: 28 to 100+ gallons

Gas or Propane

  • Uses a burner to heat water
  • Needs circulating air around it
  • Can’t store combustible materials close by
  • More expensive than electric water heaters

Heat Pump or Hybrid

  • Uses energy from the air to heat the water
  • Can use outside air, or air from the room where it’s stored
  • Available as built-in water tanks or add-ons to existing tanks
  • Larger than standard electric water heaters
  • More expensive on the front end
  • More energy efficient, resulting in much lower bills
  • Expected to grow in popularity once the NAECA requirements go into effect (see Good to Know tip below)
  • Size range: 50 to 80 gallons
  • More energy efficient than electric water heaters
  • Size range: 30 to 100 gallons

Types of Water Heaters

Consider the size of your family and the utilities in your area to choose the best water heater. It’s important to keep the following things in mind:

Types of Water Heaters

This is the most common type of water heater. These units have an insulated tank where water is heated and stored until it’s needed. They’re available in electric, liquid propane (LP) and natural gas models. Natural gas and LP water heaters normally use less energy and are less expensive to operate than electric models of the same size. When you buy a water heater, look at its cited energy efficiency and yearly operating costs. This information can be found on the EnergyGuide label.

Types of Water Heaters

They don’t store hot water; they heat water as it passes through a series of coils in the unit. Since the unit only heats water as you use it, a tankless heater is usually more energy-efficient than a traditional storage tank water heater. They’re available in electric, LP and natural gas models. A tankless unit can provide only a limited flow rate of hot water. Most tankless units can provide up to 3.5 gallons of heated water per minute. These units are a good choice for anyone whose demand doesn’t typically call for hot water at more than two points at a time.

Types of Water Heaters

Small storage tank water heaters, known as point-of-use or utility water heaters, are good choices for adding hot water to outbuildings, shops or garages. Utility water heaters usually range in size from 2.5 to 19 gallons. The largest of these miniature units can also be used to provide hot water to secondary bathrooms that may be situated far from your home’s main water heater.

Types of Water Heaters

Mobile homes require water heaters specifically made for this type of dwelling. All heaters must be H.U.D approved. Mobile home water heaters can be either gas or electric. Electric heaters are typically cheaper than gas. If you select gas, make sure to buy the correct type for your connection (propane or natural gas). You’ll also need to look at the location. If a gas heater will be enclosed with no outside access, it’s necessary to buy a sealed combustion gas water heater. If there’s outside access, a standard gas water heater is sufficient. When installing, check your measurements carefully because mobile home door openings can be smaller than an average home.


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