Due to seasonal weather fluctuations and improvements, home water heating systems are sometimes regarded as luxuries and hence denied proper care and maintenance. When winter comes, everyone realizes that this seemingly mundane installation is more than just a plumbing necessity; it’s a “lifesaver.” Anyone who has ever suffered a water heater breakdown in the middle of winter appreciates this sentiment. Despite their functional prominence, water heaters are some of the most neglected installations in the entire home. Due to poor maintenance habits, they usually suffer abject degradation leading to frequent breakdowns; hence necessitating urgent replacement. Fortunately or unfortunately, there are far too many types and models of water heaters in the market today. On one hand, the high supply has caused prices to fall and the product quality to improve, but on the other hand, the huge product diversity is confusing to consumers because it offers too many devious models — hence you might choose the wrong product if you are not careful. Whether you are looking for a replacement water heater or shopping for one to install in your new home, you should always consider the following tips to ensure an excellent buy.

 

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Efficiency Vs Cost

 

One of the most crucial considerations when buying a water heater is its energy efficiency rating. A water heater’s efficiency depends on its structural design and the type of fuel//power/energy it uses. There are two basic designs of water heaters: storage and tankless models. Storage models have reservoirs for storing hot water, which undermines their efficiency incredibly due to their standby heat loss problem. On the other hand, tankless models produce hot water on demand; hence they are very efficient. Moreover, solar water heaters are even more efficient because they use sunlight, which is free, clean and renewable. Before you buy any particular model, you should consider how the dynamics of energy efficiency and product cost compare against each other. For instance, solar water heaters require significant initial costs to purchase and install. They are also ranked among the most efficient water heaters because they use free solar energy. In this light, some industry analysts claim that the huge energy savings accrued from their inherent efficiency can potentially offset and even negate the initial costs associated with solar heaters as compared to other inefficient models, such as the conventional storage electric models.

 

Size

 

The first consideration when buying any product is its inherent ability to satisfy your needs. Likewise, when shopping for a new water heater, you should start by considering the size that will adequately furnish your household’s hot water needs. Start by assessing and estimating your home’s daily hot water needs by volume. You can consult any professional Alexandria plumbing company for a home hot water usage evaluation to determine your hot water needs. Then choose a water heater that is capable of producing enough — or even excess (to cater for unexpected usage surges like when you have guests) — hot water for your entire household. A right-sized water heater also promotes efficiency in the usage of energy and water in your home.

 

Fuel Type

 

Water heaters are categorized according to their structural design and their fuel type or energy source. In the United States, there are four basic types of fuels for water heaters: gas, electricity, geothermal and solar. The type of energy used by a water heater affects its efficiency and hence it’s operating costs; and also influences its size. When considering the energy type of a water heater, focus on the cost and availability of that type of fuel in your locality.