It’s 5:45 AM on a Tuesday in March. You’ve just grudgingly left the warm cocoon of your bed to start your day. You brush your teeth and turn on the shower, then wait for the water to warm up. And wait. And keep waiting.
It’s time to replace your water heater.
You think taking down the model number will be all the info you need to replace your water heater, but it’s unfortunately not that simple anymore. Since nationwide energy efficiency regulations were updated in 2015, your old water heater model number may not match any new water heater models.
Instead of relying on the model number from your old water heater, consider these three factors when choosing your new water heater:
The first factor you need to consider when choosing a water heater is the fuel type it will run on. Water heaters are the second greatest user of energy in homes today, so it’s important to choose the right model to avoid excessive energy costs.
Tank water heaters are probably what come to mind when you picture a water heater. They have a reservoir of water ready to be used at all times. The size you will need depends upon where it will be installed (crawlspace, attic, utility closet, etc.) and how much hot water you use on a day to day basis. Tank water heaters need to be replaced every ten years on average.
Tankless, or on demand, water heaters do not use a tank and take up very little space. Due to their small size, they can be installed virtually anywhere in your home, making them a highly versatile hot water source.They also last 5-10 years longer than tank water heaters.
Determining the right size and capacity tank water heater involves several factors, including household size, daily water usage, and the tank’s recovery rate (how much water it can heat in an hour). However, you can roughly estimate the tank capacity you need based on how many people will be living in your home during the life of the water heater.
You have a couple options with tankless water heaters. You can choose to install small point-of-use units that serve one or two fixtures, such as the kitchen sink and dishwasher or one bathroom shower and sink. These can be installed under a sink or in a linen closet and are an ideal choice for a smaller home with fewer bathrooms. Or you can choose a larger, whole-house unit that is capable of heating water for multiple bathrooms and fixtures at one time. Whole-house tankless water heaters are usually wall-mounted in your utility room.