A water heater is important for a variety of purposes around the home. Whether providing hot water for bathing, dishwashers or laundry machines, your water heaters work hard all year round. A new water heater, with new energy ratings, can help cut bills in half or heat your shower faster than your current heater. Follow these guidelines to help you get the right water heater for your home and family.
Recommended Water Volume (Gallons)
|Family Size||Natural and Propane Gas||Electric|
|3 - 4||40||50|
|2 - 3||40||40|
|1 - 2||30||30|
Natural gas water heaters are the standard model used, and are common and reliable units for your water heating needs. Unlike electric water heaters, gas water heaters require ventilation outdoors for safety.
Those seeking energy-efficiency: A gas water heater beats an electric model when it comes to energy conservation while still providing a dependable performance.
When the power goes out: If your electricity goes out due to a snowstorm or tornado, a gas water heater will still be able to provide you with a hot shower.
The budget-conscious consumer: After purchasing a gas water heater, they cost much less to operate than an electric model since they don't consume as much energy; however, gas models cost more upfront than electric models.
An electric water heater draws energy as part of your home's electricity consumption. These water heaters generally cost less than its gas counterparts and offers heat quickly with a high energy factor rating. Also, electric water heaters don't require ventilation.
Houses outfitted with an electric setup: If your home has an electric supply in a utility closet, the garage or wherever you have space, then your choice of water heaters is easy.
The DIY renovator: For those who prefer to do their own installations, an electric water heater is much easier to install than a gas model.
Small spaces: Because electric water heaters don't require ventilation, you can squeeze one into a small basement or beneath a sink without fear of it taking up much space.
If your home has special hookup requirements, a liquid propane (LP) model will be the best choice.
When a natural gas hookup isn't available: An LP unit will be the best option if natural gas isn't available in your area, and serve as a reliable source to heat your water.
The energy-conscious consumers: An LP water heater consumes an even smaller amount of energy than efficient gas water heaters.
Medium-sized families: If your family contains five people or less, a LP water heater is a good choice as it can prevent you from running out of hot water.
A hybrid unit may require a higher up-front investment, but heats water more quickly than standard electric models. Its lower operating cost will save you plenty in the long run, and since hybrid units don't require venting, you can store it anywhere in your home with the proper electrical hookup.
Those who want the best of both worlds: Since this combines characteristics of both tank and tankless designs, you can take advantage of the benefits of these two different systems, such as being able to receive hot water faster than a tankless system.
Those with room to spare: Those who have the space in a utility closet, laundry room, basement or garage to accommodate the tall size of a hybrid water heater can begin enjoying its benefits.
Those looking to be green: Getting rid of an inefficient water heater will not only save you frustration, but a hybrid model will also save you money in energy costs and increase your home's sustainability.
California has specific standards that the average water heater won't meet, so be sure to find models that target California's sustainability requirements.
California residents: These models have been specifically designed to meet the California state emission standards.
Small to medium-sized families: The available tank sizes are best for those with five or fewer households.
Energy-conscious families: For those interested in maintaining sustainability efforts, this will be an excellent means for conserving water and energy.
Making the best choice for your home depends on a variety of different factors, such as the size of your family, the space available in your home, the infrastructure of your house and your efforts to be energy efficient. All these factors can align when selecting a choice that will be best for you and your family, and provide a dependable source of hot water for showering, doing laundry and washing dishes. A water heater is an essential appliance for your home, and the right selection of a water heater will ensure you've got hot water at a lower cost and without yesterday's levels of energy consumption.