Replacing Your Water Heater: 5 Tips For Comparison Shopping
Of all the appliances in your home, your water heater is the one you probably take for granted most of all – until you turn up the hot water in the shower and get drenched with ice cold water instead. If it’s time to replace your water heater, keep five tips in mind as you comparison-shop:
- The average life span of a water heater is 10 years. If your unit is close to that age, start familiarizing yourself with what’s on the market these days. That way, when your tank does fail, you can make a well-informed decision. Further, if you’re convinced that your unit is on its last legs, you can just go ahead and replace the unit, knowing that you’ve made a thoroughly researched decision.
- A water tank can hold anywhere from 30 to 80 gallons, with 50- and 60-gallon tanks being most common. Your qualified technician will help you determine whether your replacement should be the same size. The number of people in your family, your hot water needs and a measure called the first-hour rating — or how much hot water the heater can provide each hour — will factor into that decision.
- Refine your selection to Energy Star-qualified water heaters, which have earned an official stamp of approval from the U.S. Department of Energy based on strict testing and efficiency standards. The familiar EnergyGuide Label on water heaters identifies the first-hour rating in the top left corner as “capacity.” It also lists the unit’s energy factor, which basically shows the amount of fuel that’s needed to make the water hot on an average day.
- Consider the availability and cost of fuel. In Ohio, natural gas and electricity are commonly used to run a water heater. Alternatives, depending on availability, include a heat pump, which channels heat from the air and transfers it to water; a solar water heater; and a tankless hot water heater, which can heat water virtually on demand.
- Research rebates and, if you see none available, ask. Rebates are not always advertised.