Last updated: April 9, 2018

How to Select Your Next Hot Water Heater

If you are in the market for a new hot water heater, then there are a couple of things you need to consider. The first is, of course, to be sure that you’ve got a ready supply of hot water. The other is taking advantage of the significant technological advances in water heaters for both energy efficiency and cost savings.

Here’s how to select your next hot water heater.

Types of Water Heaters

There are a lot of different types of water heaters. The water heater that our grandparents’ generation had was the convention storage water heater. These types of hot water heaters used a large tank of stored warm water. There were two problems with that system. The first is that heating that tank of water for 24 hours a day is highly energy inefficient. The other problem is that when the hot water was expended, it took some time to replenish the supply of hot water inside the tank.

Now there are a whole array of different options, including tankless heaters, heat pumps, solar water heaters, and tankless coils. Tankless systems are perhaps the most ideal because they offer hot water on demand with conceivably an infinite amount, while maintaining a high-level of energy efficient because water is only heated as it is needed.

The type of fuel that is used by a hot water system is also important. They range from electricity, natural gas, solar energy, geothermal energy, propane, and traditional fuel oil.

Demand & Usage

The biggest consideration that you’ll need to determine in selecting your water heater is how much demand your household generates for hot water. If you’re a single retiree, your demands from your hot water system are going to be drastically different from a family of seven. Improper planning of the demands on your hot water system can lead to wasted money or a lack of hot water supply.

The gauge of how much hot water you’ll need is to determine how much hot water is consumed during peak usage. For most American households, morning is the period of peak usage when the family cycles in and out of the shower.

The Department of Energy has a useful website to help you determine how much hot water you’ll need:


Hot water systems range from fairly inexpensive on one end to costly on the other. The conventional hot water tank system is generally the least expensive to buy and install, but it it’s the least efficient in terms of your monthly heating bills. The tankless systems tend to be more expensive upfront, but save money in the long run.

You’ll have to decide if paying more up front to save money over months and years is affordable. Check with your supplier and investigate if they have payment plans to offset an initial large investment if possible. Whenever making an expensive purchase, always do your research. The Internet is a great tool for this endeavor. You can check prices from major outlets, retail chains, as well as wholesalers to find the best deal to suit your hot water demands.

The Environment

Energy usage has side effects for the environment as well as the pocket book. Tankless heating systems can reduce energy usage by as much as 30%.  Solar water heaters are even more efficient with proper sunlight. The hot water tank generally uses the most energy, which of course has the highest impact environmentally as a result.

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