By Jane Lasky
Not all water heaters are created equal. Like with many utilitarian items, these necessities of modern life come in different shapes, sizes and types, all of which carry varying price tags. So how do you decide which one is right for your household while also staying within budget?
The answer, which includes the price of the water heater and the cost of the installation, depends on how you respond to certain individual needs. Learning more about your options is paramount in this case where knowledge is, indeed, power.
Space and Volume
The first situation to consider is two-fold: How much water does your family use and how much space does your home have to house your new unit?
When considering these questions, realize that units on the market heat water in a couple of different ways. Storage water heaters ensure that your water is heated at all times while tankless water heaters make water warm when needed.
Because of this difference, tankless water heaters are significantly smaller than storage water heaters. However, storage water heaters are usually priced at less than tankless water heaters and are typically the choice made by most home owners looking to be cost efficient.
That said, selecting a tankless unit means you are able to keep your water warm in a more energy efficient manner. This kind of water heater also tends to last longer than its storage counterpart.
Another factor to consider is the kind of power source that will be utilized to run your new water heater. Consider the trio of energy possibilities: Gas, electricity and solar.
Also consider that gas heaters work more quickly than the other types and also cost less to operate, but are less energy efficient than those that work by using electricity. Meanwhile, sun-driven solar-powered water heaters are substantially more efficient than both gas and electric heaters, but are not as predictably able to heat water on command, like when the weather is overcast.
When it’s time to replace your water heater, do your homework ahead of your shopping expedition. Determine how much water your family typically uses so you know how much capacity is required for your unit.
Also make sure you have room for the kind of water heater you are considering. Add in the kind of hook-up you are aiming to use. This means determining the power supply as well as the pluming type that is in place.
And finally, determine whether or not you will be able and willing to install your new unit. If the answer is no, then factor in the need to hire a professional who will carry out that necessary task for you—for a price. All of these determinants will help you come up with the water heater that is right for you and, equally as important, for the budget with which you need to meet.