For some people, finding out they need a new water heater means taking whichever tank the local plumber has available. This may turn out just fine if you have an experienced plumber with a well-stocked truck, but it’s not always the best way to find the water heater that’s right for your home.
Sometimes, it’s better to compare your options. And today, there are more options out there than ever before. Gas or electric, tank or tankless: which one is best for your home? Call a plumber to discuss your options, or check out our guide below.
GAS TANK WATER HEATER VS. ELECTRIC TANK WATER HEATER
First, there’s the matter of fuel type. If you are planning to install a tank water heater, the conventional large tank model you’ll see in most homes, you need to know what it’s running on. For some people, electric is always preferred. For others, natural gas is a better alternative. It all depends on your needs.
Gas water heaters offer many benefits:
- Natural gas typically costs less than electricity, so you save more in the long run.
- They have greater storage capabilities available.
- Gas water heaters are safer today than ever before.
Electric water heaters, however, have their advantages too.
- They typically cost less to install, even if they cost more to run.
- They eliminate any safety concerns.
- They may have a longer lifespan than gas tank water heaters.
COMPARING SIZE AND EFFICIENCY RATINGS
Once you know what fuel source a tank water heater will use, you’ll have to find out which is the right size for your home. It depends on your family size and habits, mostly. If multiple people tend to use hot water at different fixtures at once, for example, you’ll need a bigger tank.
Don’t fall for a standard 50-gallon tank if it’s not right for your family. If it’s too small, you’ll run out of hot water all the time. If your water heater is too big, you’ll waste a lot of energy or fuel. That’s why you should consult a plumber to find the right water heater tank for your family.
TANK VS. TANKLESS WATER HEATERS
A tankless water heater is something you’ve likely considered if you’re shopping around. Tankless water heaters have a design that eliminates tanks by automatically heating up water as it passes through. That means that you don’t have to worry about wasting water you never use. They’re not right for everyone, but they can certainly save you some money over time.
Tankless water heaters offer these advantages.
- Increased energy efficiency.
- Smaller size leaves more room for storage.
- Longer lifespan.
- Won’t run out of hot water (like tank water heaters do).
But tank water heaters still have plenty to make them popular.
- Cost less to install.
- Hot water is not sporadic, as it often is with a tankless water heater.
- You won’t need multiple units, as you may with a tankless water heater.