Guidance from a Plumber on Water Heater Replacement

Guidance from a Plumber on Water Heater Replacement

Have you ever had that sinking feeling when you hear water running in the basement and all the taps are off? With anxious anticipation you find contact information for a plumber, search for the source of the running water, and hope the flood isn't huge. If the source is a failed water heater you need to get replacement immediately. While it is urgent that you get a new appliance, it is also important to select the correct water heater for your household needs. The following information about water heaters is designed to help you find the most suitable one for you.

Conventional Storage Versus Tankless

You may have heard that conventional storage systems should be replaced by tankless units to save energy. However, whether or not the tankless variety is right depends upon your needs.

Conventional Storage

Heated water is stored in a large tank that gives you a lot of hot water at the same time. Depending on the model, you can get sufficient amounts of water for a large family to take showers and do laundry simultaneously. These units are less expensive to buy, and do-it-yourself plumbers can install them. However, they are not very efficient. Heat is lost as water sits in the tank or the pipes.

Tankless or On-Demand

As the name implies, these units do not have a water storage tank. The water is heated instantly as it passes through the unit. They do not provide a lot of hot water for simultaneous activities such as laundry and showers. With a small family, though, the hot water supply should be adequate. Typically, they tend to be more efficient than conventional systems. Plumbing requirements may be different for a tankless unit and may require some remodeling in your home in order to be installed.

Criteria to Consider

Before buying either a tankless or conventional system you should consider the following criteria:

  • What is the annual cost to operate the appliance? An estimated amount will be listed on the EnergyGuide sticker that is attached to the appliance.
  • What is the energy source that is most readily available? Some neighborhoods may not have easy access to all energy sources, and some may be more cost effective than others. Common energy sources are electricity, natural gas, oil, propane, and solar power.
  • What are your household needs? If you have a large household you need greater capacity. Both tankless and conventional storage have different capacities.
  • How energy efficient is the system? A tankless unit may sound more energy efficient, but in reality it may not be. Tankless units use more electricity to heat the water instantly. If you use a lot of water, you may be using a lot more energy than you would with a conventional gas water heater.
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