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.

Your new water heater should carry a five- to 10-year warranty, though its actual life span will depend on usage and how well you take care of it. Call Apollo Home Heating, Cooling &  Plumbing for help with your purchase, from selection to installation. Apollo Home is family owned and operated and has been serving Cincinnati since 1910.

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"Ernie & Mike did a superb job on my new furnace and A/C installation. Despite having more than a day’s work to do, they came in and stayed until the job was done. They were organized, efficient, and protected the rest of the house well. Got both furnace and A/C installed the same day. Ernie was courteous, informative, and clearly knew his job better than anyone I’ve encountered before. The units look so good guests now get The Tour of our new system. Apollo is clearly not a fly-by-night company. I would recommend them to anyone in need of a new furnace and/or A/C."
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"I called Apollo because of a water leak I thought I had in our upstairs shower going into the kitchen. Robbie came and assured me everything was fine & looked at all the other plumbing. He ended up changing a few pipes for our washer & clearing a drain. He was very nice & knowledgeable with all my questions. I ended up signing up for the care plan & was very happy with my service."
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- Randy B.
"We scheduled an estimate AND a tune-up. We knew something was wrong with our furnace, but hoped we could make it through the rest of the season. Upon telling Bill what our furnace was doing, he warned us immediately what the possible outcome was going to be; a cracked heat exchanger. He watched the flames roll backward, tested carbon monoxide levels, which were so high they meter’s last reading was 5,600 before saying “high”. He immediately shut it down, tagged it, and explained that with levels that high and children in our home he wanted off right away. He continued his inspection and showed us via a camera that not only was it cracked in multiple places, but had holes all over it. He gave us a few options for repairing it; his knowledge as well as genuine concern was beneficial and refreshing. Luckily we also scheduled an estimator, Micah, to come too and we were able to get costs between repairing and replacing (with several options). We decided to replace with a much higher efficiency furnace and one sized properly to our home. Hands down, not only did they both provide us great service and knowledge, but without sounding dramatic, they may have saved our lives. This was our first time calling Apollo, but it won’t be our last."
- Sarah B.
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