The cost of heating water consumes almost 20% of your household budget, second only to what you spend on heating and cooling your entire home. Despite that, water heaters are typically ignored!!!
Until they break of course, leaving you with no hot water and, possibly, a flooded basement. With Winter around the corner, this is the best time to take a moment and consider if you should get a new or renew yours.
Choosing a hot water heater is simple, you only need to consider 3 factors which you can read about below, to make sure you get one that is best suited to your specific needs. But first, a quick look at the different types of water heaters.
Water Heater Types:
- Conventional storage water heaters – which rely on a storage tank of ready hot water
- Heat pump water heaters – which don’t generate heat directly, but instead take heat from one place to another to heat the water
- On-demand water heaters – which heat water on demand and therefore don’t rely on a storage tank for hot water
- Solar water heaters – which rely on the sun’s heat for hot water
- Tankless coil water heaters – which use a home’s space heating system to heat the water
3 Factors to Consider:
Fuel type- is relevant to not only cost and availability, but also to size and energy efficiency. Possible fuel types include electricity, fuel oil, geothermal energy, natural gas, propane and solar energy. If more than one fuel option is available where you live, make sure you shop around to get the one that is most cost efficient.
Size. The water heater size you need will be determined not only by the size of your household, but also by the type of water heater you plan to install.
Water quality. Water quality is important because it can affect the lifetime of your heater. Balanced water poses no problem, but aggressive or hard water can cause corrosion or scaling.
Energy efficiency. Energy efficiency refers to the energy factor (EF) scale, which takes into account how efficiently the heating system applies heat to water (recovery efficiency), the percentage of heat loss per hour of its stored water (standby loss), and the amount of heat lost as the water circulates through the unit (cycling loss). In general, the higher the EF rating, the more efficient the heater.
Heater and installation cost Depending on the type of water heater, installation should range between $550 to $10,000 including the unit and the labor. Generally, the more expensive the unit, the more expensive the cost of installation.
Available space. Most heaters are a standard size, so if you’re space won’t accommodate a standard size water heater, you’ll need to look for alternative solutions.
Special features. There are plenty of extra features available that can improve your water heater’s performance and efficiency such as anti-scale devices, brass drain valves, digital displays, timers, alarms, heater blankets and more. For added safety and efficiency, check what accessories are available for each model.
Don’t get stuck in the cold
Water heaters are the second largest users of energy in the home, accounting for an astonishing 17% of a household’s total energy use. Keep this in mind as you shop for a water heater so you remember to do your due diligence and take a close look at all the options available before you buy.