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How Do You Know What Type of Water Heater You Need?

The type of water heater you choose can directly affect your home’s comfort level and overall energy expenses. If you’re replacing an older water heating unit, you will need to consider the type, size, and efficiency of your options. A considerable chunk of the average homeowner's yearly energy costs is due to heating water. The water heater you choose will have a big impact on performance and utility costs. 

Tank-style vs. Tankless

Size

There are various types of water heaters to choose from, but the most commonly used types are those with tanks and the tankless varieties. Tank-style water heaters are made with big metal tanks that hold and store hot water. The water is kept hot on reserve until you need it. The tanks are usually very large and heavy, about five feet high and two feet wide, holding 40 to 60 gallons typically. If you’re trying to save space, tankless water heaters are much smaller than tank-style units.

Unit Cost

Tank-style water heaters are less expensive to purchase than tankless units but they usually only last about ten years or so. You should expect even lower longevity with hard water, such as we have here in the Central Texas area. Tankless units cost more to buy and install but can last twice as long, about twenty years if maintained properly. Tankless water heaters only come on when hot water is needed. There is no holding tank, so tankless units are much smaller than tank-style water heaters. 

Energy Costs

Tank-style water heaters hold and heat water to keep it warm for when it's needed. They continuously reheat water which uses energy. Tankless units are also called on-demand or instantaneous water heaters because they only come on when hot water is needed, heating it as needed.

Convenience

Nothing is worse than the hot water running low and turning cold in the middle of a shower. Hot water will run out when the tank empties with a tank-style water heater. With a tankless water heater, the hot water will last as long as you need it to, heating the water as it passes through the unit. 

Which Fuel Type Will You Choose 

You must also consider what type of fuel you want to use to run your water heating system. There are water heaters that can be used with gas, electricity, oil. propane, and solar energy sources. There are good and bad qualities for each type. Let’s talk about some of the most common fuel types for water heaters.

Natural Gas

Units fueled by natural gas can create hot water instantly and come in many sizes and types. Water heaters that use natural gas must have a chimney or wall vent.

Propane

Water heaters fueled by propane are similar to those that use natural gas. A large storage tank holds the liquid propane. It must be checked and filled regularly. Propane water heaters require wall or chimney venting just like those that use natural gas. 

Electric

Electricity-fueled water heaters don’t require wall or chimney venting. They are fairly easy to have installed. Electric water heaters are more convenient but they do tend to use more energy than alternative fuel sources. 


If you need some help finding a better water heater for your home, call Plumbing Outfitters today! These professionals can help you pinpoint your needs, choose the right unit, and install the best water heater for your home.

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