Considerations to Take to Choose the Right Water Heater

Have you been using water heaters for a long time? If so, you are aware that it is one of the fastest changing plumbing appliances around. More and more cost effective and energy efficient models are coming into the market to give you varied choices. So with all these benefits, how do you choose the right water heater for you and your family?

Energy Factor Ratings

The energy efficiency awareness has proven to be extremely advantageous for many homeowners in search for the right water heater. When shopping for your water heater, the first thing to check is the Energy Factor (EF) rating of the unit. What is the importance of the EF rating? This tells you everything you need to know about its efficiency, flow rate (if you are looking for a tankless one), and first-hour recovery (with storage tank heaters).

How do you read the EF rating? The important thing to remember with EF ratings is that the higher the number associated with the unit, the more efficient it is. In terms of recovery rate, the higher the number shown, the more hot water the unit produces within the first hour after the spigot has been opened.

Tankless water heaters present the unique condition of having its flow rate being cut in half by the lower groundwater temperature. This means that you need to look at the incoming winter water temperature if you want to shop for tankless water heaters.

Type of Heater

Now that you have an idea about EF ratings in relation to efficiency, flow rate, and recovery rate, let’s look at the most common units available in the market today to help you decide what is right for you.

  • Conventional Gas Water Heaters – with an EF rating of at least 0.67, it has low upfront cost and very easy to install. It has proven reliability for long-term use. This is an excellent choice for immediate replacement for those who do not require much hot water. Simple, reliable, and affordable.
  • Condensing Gas Water Heaters –can have a thermal efficiency of as high as 96%, it is considered as the most energy-efficient in the market today. It also has an unbelievable recovery rate that means you will almost never run out of hot water any day. Until more affordable units become available, this type of water heater is one of the most expensive. If you love long hot showers or multiple showers are used in your home simultaneously, this might just be the one for you.
  • Tankless Water Heaters – this generates hot water on a per need basis. Equipped with a flow sensor, it detects when the faucet is opened, which signals the gas valve to open and fire up the burners. Look for a unit with an EF rating of anywhere from 0.54 to 0.82. There may be a lag time of as much as 8 seconds before the burners fire up to heat the water. Flushing by a professional plumber can cost as much as $125. If you do not have much floor space, but need continuous supply of hot water, this may be the unit for you.
  • Hybrid Electric Heat-Pump Water Heaters – this makes use the heat in the surrounding air and pumps it into the heater’s storage tank. This has one of the lowest operating costs among the water heaters in the market. This type of water heater can also qualify owners for tax incentives or rebates. Although it is comparatively more expensive than other models, this may just be the right choice for you if you live in an area where the climate is warm.
  • Electric Point-of-Use Tankless Water Heaters –this is used to reduce water waste and is not designed to replace the main water heater in your home. It is usually installed under the sink, connected between the hot and cold water valves. By eliminating frequent cycling, it increases the efficiency of hot water use. This works best for kitchen and bath faucets.

Scott English Plumbing can help you evaluate what type of water heater would be best installed for your home. Call us today!