Nothing wipes away your smile faster than coming home from a fun evening out or a weekend away only to discover your house is flooded!
As you struggle to walk through the water to locate the source of the leak some of the questions running through your mind are “Why me?” “What did I do to deserve this?”, “How much is this going to cost to fix?”
As if things couldn’t get any worse, you notice that your water heater has sprung a leak! You might be left with potential water damage, an empty wallet and a huge headache.
Just before you call your plumber, hold on a second and think about the choices you’re going to have to face trying to decide the type of water heater to buy.
At first, it may seem like a pretty straightforward decision until you realize there are numerous varieties available in the market. You must have a clear understanding of what you need in order to make the best choice for your home.
For a start, you need to find out if your current unit can be fixed without the need to purchase another. To get the most for your money, set a yearly price limit of $50 or less on the warranty. Anything above that amount and you are better off buying a new one.
Let’s take a look at a few things you need to take into consideration when shopping for a new water heater. One obvious consideration would be whether to get a gas or an electric unit. Each of these has several sub-types including solar, tankless, hybrid, and the traditional storage tank heater.
Switching from electric to hybrid can save you a lot of money with the hybrid model in the long run providing you do not have a gas heater already because gas is very much less expensive than electricity.
However, you may choose to go for a tankless water heater installation if you currently have a traditional storage tank model as this saves you money.
On the other hand, if your plan is to stick to the storage tank type, be sure to remember the old saying “you get what you pay for.”
The thing about these traditional units is they are not really worth the stress; the more expensive heaters are worth the extra cost.
If you really wish to save cost, think about getting a heater powered by solar, especially if your home is situated in a very sunny region or if your tank can be directly exposed to sunlight.
After you have decided on the type of heater you want, the next thing is to think about the capacity. The number of people living in your home and their personal hygiene habits will have a great impact on the size of heater that’s best for you.
Take for instance you have two people in your home who take very long showers, they may use more water than four other people who take short ones. Consult with your plumber about the most suitable unit size and remember to talk about the number of people in the house and how they use water generally.
Other considerations to factor in include the type of warranty offered, the safety measures included in the unit, if the water heater has a digital display that will allow you set it on different modes such as “vacation mode” (this can help save money during the times you’ll be away from home).
Tankless water heaters, as the name implies, do not come with any tank for water storage. They provide hot water when needed hence it’s also called “demand-type or instantaneous heaters.”
These are high-power heaters which heats up water instantly as it flows. They supply hot water continuously and do not retain any as the tankless units have no storage tank.
Tankless units are categorized based on the following Installation point:
- Point -of-use: These types of heaters are mounted at specific locations to cater for the needs of the locals, e.g. bathrooms, kitchen, etc. They are relatively small in size and serve the needs of a single location.
- Whole house: This type of heater caters to the needs of the entire house. It is installed externally but supplies hot water everywhere it is needed in the house.
- Electric tankless heaters: These heaters depend on electricity as their source of power to provide hot water.
Natural gas or Propane-based models: They supply hot water using gas as their source.
At the initial stage, the cost of a tankless water heater is higher compared to a traditional water heater however; the tankless water heaters last longer and have lower operating and energy costs, which could offset its higher purchasing cost.
It costs about $2,500 for a basic tankless water heater installation but most of them have a life expectancy of 20 years and more. On average, it costs about $165 to $170 annually to operate a tankless water heater which is almost half the cost (about $230-$285) for a traditional storage.
Flushing is part of the regular maintenance of a tankless water heater. It involves circulating distilled white vinegar through the heat exchanger using a 1/3 horsepower submersible pump and an isolator valve kit.