What To Know When Shopping For A New Hot Water Heater

No one wants to go long without hot water, so if your hot water heater has failed then you will want to promptly install a new one. The following information can help you pick out the right replacement water heater for your home.

Tank or Tankless

Tank water heaters are still the most common option and likely the most readily available. The benefit of tank water heaters is that you can purchase one sized to provide the amount of hot water your household tends to use in a single hour. These heaters can take a while to warm up. Tankless hot water heaters, on the other hand, have their own benefits. They take up less space and you get hot water nearly on demand — you never have to wait for the water to warm. Tankless heaters do have a limited capacity, so in larger homes or those with many residents, you may need to install multiple tankless models to keep up with demand.

Fuel Source

Once you know the style of hot water heater, compare models that use the correct fuel source for your home. Generally, this will be natural gas or electricity, although some homes may run off an alternative gas like propane. If you currently have gas in your home, you can compare both electric and gas models. On the other hand, if you live in an all-electric home, then it makes financial sense to only compare electric models since running gas in the home will add to the installation expense.


How much water your heater can provide is another important shopping point. As a rule of thumb for tank water heaters, look for a capacity of about 10 to 15 gallons per person. Also, pay attention to the first-hour rate and recovery rate. These will be listed in gallons per minute. The higher the number, the more quickly the heater refills and reheats after use. For a tankless heater, all you need to check is the gallons per minute rate to make sure you will be getting sufficient water on demand.


Finally, take a few minutes to check the efficiency rating on the hot water heaters you have narrowed down your options to. All heaters should have an Energy Star label, which breaks down the efficiency, and an EF label. EF stands for energy factor, and it is the rating that details how efficient the appliance is at heating the water and storing it. The higher the EF rating, the more efficient the unit.

Contact a service that installs water heaters to learn more about the options that are available to you.