Choosing the right water heater is an important decision. Not only does your family depend on access to hot water every day, but water heaters account for approximately 20 percent of a home’s energy cost. Over the life of this necessary appliance, that represents a substantial investment. Federal guidelines require water heaters to be energy efficient, but which brands are best?
It’s important to note that a few manufacturers — Rheem, A.O. Smith and Bradford White — produce the majority of the tank-type water heaters on the market, even those that are marketed under different brand labels such as GE and American Standard.
One of the most popular brands is Rheem. Rheem water heaters are consistently efficient and reliable and work well in most homes.
Other top brands include:
- Bradford White Water Heaters
- Rinnai Water Heaters
- Ecosmart Tankless Water Heaters
- GE GeoSpring Water Heaters
- Stiebel Eltron Water Heaters
- Bosch Water Heaters
- American Standard Water Heaters
- A.O. Smith
What to Consider When Choosing a Water Heater
- Gas vs. electric.
Gas water heaters tend to be less expensive to operate because gas is usually cheaper than electricity, but electric water heaters are more efficient. Most people replace the old water heater with the same type because changing from one to the other is expensive.
- Tank size.
Water heater storage is typically 40, 50 or 55 gallons. When choosing tank size, consider the number of people in the home and peak usage. That is, will there be multiple showers and appliances such as the dishwasher or washing machine used at the same time.
Coverage ranges from three to 12 years, with longer-warranty models costing a bit more. However, those models are likely to have larger elements/burners that heat water faster as well as better insulation to minimize heat loss. Choose a water heater with the longest warranty available.
- Efficiency ratings.
The energy factor (EF) is determined by recovery efficiency (how efficiently heat is transferred from the source to the water), standby losses (the percentage of heat lost while the water is stored) and cycling losses (heat lost as the water circulates through the system). Higher EF indicates greater efficiency, although operating costs will also depend on the cost of the fuel.
- Tank vs. tankless water heaters.
Tankless water heaters function best when only one source is drawing water at a time. If multiple simultaneous uses are typical for your home, a tank is better.
Water Heater Safety
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for regular use. In addition, take these precautions:
- When you are away for extended periods, consider lowering the temperature to save money and reduce the risk of problems.
- Remove paper and other combustible materials from the area housing the water heater.
- Have a professional install your water heater.
Indoor Air Quality is here to assist with all your HVAC needs. Contact us today! We serve homes in Highlands Ranch and throughout the Denver Metro Area.