Water heaters are one of the larger and more expensive appliances in a home. They are typically placed in an inconspicuous location within the home, such as a corner in the basement. The location can be the root of an “out of sight, out of mind,” attitude that often results in neglecting the ongoing condition of a water heater.
Homeowners typically get a wake-up call when a shower turns cold due to an irreparable water heater that needs to be replaced. The silver lining will generally be the purchase of a much more energy efficient model that will, in the long run, save money to the homeowner. There are other elements to consider before making a water heater shopping trip.
Tank Or Tankless
Tank or tankless water heaters can operate with gas or electric, and both are available in sizes that are dependent on the water capacity that is needed for a particular home. Conventional tank water heaters should coincide with the number of bedrooms and bathrooms within a home. Tankless models are purchased on the basis of a predetermined flow rate measured in gallons per minute (GPM). The flow rates for fixtures or appliances that are primarily used in a home are combined with the expected water temperatures for each function to determine the necessary size of a tankless unit. Hybrid water heaters operate with electric and are more expensive at the time of purchase, but save money over the course of a year. Modern technology allows a heat pump to draw in surrounding air and use extracted heat to provide water at warmer temperatures.
Energy efficiency should be a primary concern to save on cost and overall energy use. Water heaters with an energy factor (EF) closest to 1 will be the most efficient.
Other Desired Features
Once a water heater is chosen, its dimensions should be taken into consideration for an ideal fit. Larger units might need additional plumbing. Remember to pay close attention to other options such as self cleaning, which will promote the longevity of a water heater. A quick recovery speed indicates how quickly a tank of water will be heated and an auto shutoff valve can prevent a catastrophic fire when using a gas-operated water heater. Take time to thoroughly research available water heaters while contemplating the advantages and disadvantages of each model.
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