There are so many choices out there if you’re trying to pick the best water heater for your home. There are tankless or tanked heaters, natural gas or electric heaters. It can be very confusing and overwhelming for someone to sort through all the different options. Advice on the internet is great, but sometimes it’s not very practical or cost-effective. Let’s narrow down your choices a bit to make your decision simpler.
One of the first questions you should ask yourself is whether or not the water heater is practical to install in your home. If you want to change to a different type of product than what was previously installed, what’s it going to take? Sometimes it can require significant mechanical changes, so you have to decide if it’s worth it. Just because you have electric in the home doesn’t mean that you’re a good candidate for an electric water heater.
You can choose from a natural gas or LP gas tankless water heater, a high-output tank water heater, standard tank water heaters, and electric tankless/on-demand water heaters. LP or natural gas tankless water heaters are a very good product. We install them often and our clients are very happy with them. Navien brand tankless water heaters are our most popular, simply because they have several features and benefits that address homeowners’ concerns. They offer both a natural gas unit and an LP unit and they can also be converted back and forth to either of those options.
A high-output tanked water heater is an attractive option if you have a finished basement and you can’t get gas lines or the correct electrical. It’s a very cost-effective system that still gives almost the same performance as a gas tankless. It’s fully capable of filling a large tub in your master suite. You also won’t have the high cost of changing or reworking the home to accommodate for other types of units. High-output tanked water heaters are also extremely efficient—a 50 gallon unit can put out the equivalent of a 100 gallon water heater due to the higher BTU input from the gas line.
Another option you might want to consider is a heat pump water heater. Those are mainly highly efficient electric units. However, they don’t put out a large quantity of hot water. If you don’t have much need for 100 gallons of hot water and you want something that’s efficient, a heat pump water heater may be a good option.
We also have standard water heaters that have been around for many years. At the beginning of 2015, manufacturing standards have changed so the units are a bit bigger in size. Even though they’re physically bigger, we don’t offer 80 or 100 gallon electric or gas water heaters anymore. Due to the new regulations, those types of systems are no longer being manufactured.
We do not recommend an electric tankless water heater. Normally people jump onto this option because it sounds like it’ll be a good idea. Once you start looking into it, you’ll see that it’s not a very practical choice. Why? First of all, in a two bathroom home you’ll need to have 120 amps of electricity to run the system. That’s equivalent to the amount of energy to run three electric dryers or four electric water tanked water heaters. Even if you don’t care about the sky-high energy usage, you’re only going to get about three gallons of hot water per minute. That’s barely enough to run one shower.
There’s also a restriction of flow through electric tankless water heaters. That means that you’re likely going to have less pressure when you have one of these units installed in your home. Even worse, they tend to be noisy. We received a complaint from a homeowner who got one installed in a closet behind the bathroom. Every time they took a shower, the unit would make a loud buzzing noise.
If that isn’t enough to discourage you from choosing a tankless electric water heater, we’ve also seen dependability issues with this type of system. When you have that much power in a unit and mix it with water, there’s a good chance that one of the elements will be exposed to moisture and/or air. That’ll cause the element to blow and need replacement.
If you have any questions about the different types of water heaters, the best thing to do is schedule a visit from one of us to go and visit your home. We’ll look at your situation, ask you important questions, and guide you in the right direction. The visit is absolutely no charge if you’re considering going to a high-efficiency or tankless water heater. To get started, contact us online or give us a call at (540) 483-9382.