It used to be an easy decision: replace your water heater with another that is exactly the same. In today’s market, however, you have multiple options that could improve your home’s energy efficiency.
In April 2015, the Department of Energy announced new standards for residential water heater efficiency. Read the full announcement here.
What to Consider If You’re Buying a New Water Heater in Cleveland:
- Fuel type, availability and cost
- Number of people living in your home (hot water demand)
- Cost of unit as it relates to annual operating cost
- Estimated energy efficiency of various models
- Maintenance and repair information
- How well your old unit supplied your demand
- Length of warranty
It’s important to choose a water heater with an appropriate heat recovery rate for your family. It should be able to provide hot water where and when you need it, and do so in the most cost-effective and energy efficient way. Additionally, depending on the size and layout of your home, it may be best to consider two water heaters.
Types of Water Heaters in Cleveland
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Gas Water Heater
The type of water heater most commonly found in the American home is a gas model that holds 20-80 gallons of water. In a gas water heater, cold water enters the bottom of the tank and is heated as it rises to the top. When you turn on your hot water faucet, the hot water comes from the top of the tank. Fuel for gas water heaters is propane, oil-fired, or natural gas.
Solar Water Heater
A solar water heater consists of a solar collector and a storage tank, and it is powered by the no-cost energy of the sun. Another item to consider when planning, is that systems in higher latitude environments may require additional design elements and may cause more complexity and cost.
Tankless Water Heater
A tankless water heater has many advantages over traditional tank water heaters, but it usually costs more than an electric or gas-powered unit. Advantages include no tank to heat and no standby heat loss, both of which make it more efficient and give you a practically endless supply of hot water. As with other types of water heaters, you may need more than one tankless unit depending on the water consumption of your home.
Electric Water Heater
An electric-powered water heater has a storage tank as well, but it heats water using two electric elements, each with its own thermostat.
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Energy Efficiency Considerations
Because the water is constantly being heated and re-heated, gas and electric water heaters can lose some efficiency, but their efficiency has improved a lot in the past few years. Spending a little more upfront on your new water heater will help get you a more efficient model and save you money in the long run; look for an insulation rating of R-16 or higher. Also, consider that with a tankless water heater, you can save money by not heating and re-heating the same tank of water.
When considering different models, know that the costs can vary depending on the water line connections, strapping, access and type of heater, and gas line. You are also better off scheduling an in-person evaluation when checking prices; a “blind” quote from someone over the phone is often not accurate.