Let’s face it no one likes getting up in the morning to a cold shower. But rarely is anyone going to wake up one morning and say “I think its time to get a new hot water heater.” We wait until it leaks or just stops working before we fork out the money to make the purchase.
Before the internet dominated, homeowners would drive to Lowes or Home Depot and grab the recommended, model. Now we have reviews for every product or service we need.
Determine Your Water Usage
To be honest, most hot water heaters will last 8 to 12 years. So which one do I pick? Lets first address the obvious, do you use natural gas, electric, or propane? Second, you need to decide if you want a tankless water heater or a storage tank heater. The big question is how many gallons do I need my water heater to hold if I’m using a storage tank heater? If you go on demand (tankless) or storage heater, you’ll need to know your flow rate. This is how much water you use at any given time from a faucet or appliance. Are you using two showers at a time? Maybe you’re running a washer while showering. Once you determine your water usage, you can make an accurate decision on the tank size. Of course, much of this will depend on the size of your family.
- Tub is 4 (GPM) gallons per minute
- Shower 2.5 – 3 GPM
- Washing Machine 2 GPM
- Dishwasher 1.5 GPM
- Kitchen Sink 1.5 GPM
Top Hot Water Heaters
The top three manufacturers of hot water heaters are AO Smith, Rheem, and Bradford & White and rightly so, they all provide a quality water heater. Bradford & White can only be purchased through an authorized dealer and is the recommended brand by most plumbers and plumbing companies. Consumer Report has a slightly different list they rank their top four as AO Smith, General Electric, Kenmore, and Rheem.
A huge consideration is your installation. Have your installation completed by a licensed plumbing contractor––no exceptions! Do your diligence and make sure he or she is reputable. In our current climate with reviews so, prevalent homeowners should have no problem finding an excellent plumbing contractor that will stand behind their work if something was to go wrong.
Count The Cost
Last but not least, consider the cost. Storage water heaters cost approximately $800 to $1700 depending on the brand, size, features, and warranty. You can expect to pay $3000 to $4000 for a tankless water heater. Another thing to keep in mind is the cost of installation. Before making a purchase check with your plumbing professional to compare the installation costs between storage and tankless.
- What will power your hot water heater, natural gas, propane, or electricity?
- What type of water heater do you want, tankless or storage tank?
- How much hot water will your family consume?
- What are the peak usage times for hot water?
- Pick a plumbing contractor to work with you.
- Make sure your water heater has the ®Energy Star label.
- Count the cost and compare features and warranty.