How to Choose An Affordable Yet Efficient Hot Water Heater

Shipton's Heating and Cooling provides AC Repair and Air Conditioner Preventative Maintenance in Hamilton, Ontario.

Spring, summer, fall, winter. What do all four of these seasons have in common?

We always need hot water. Ice bucket challenges aside, the vast majority of us like to take hot showers and baths. We like to be able to wash our clothing in hot water. And we want hot water for cooking and cleaning.

So there is never a good time for our hot water heater or hot water boiler to conk out.

Yet for someone, somewhere, it is always the day when the hot water fails for good and it is time to pick a new hot water heater.

Our goal with this post is to make that day as low-stress as possible, even if the replacement comes as a complete surprise. Read on to learn how to choose an affordable yet efficient hot water heater.

Affordable and Efficient Hot Water Heaters Are Not Always the Same

If you have been shopping around for a hot water heater or hot water boiler, you have seen the great deals.

You may have even signed up for alerts so you are the first to know when new units go on sale or clearance.

But this is where it really pays to talk with your Shipton’s service technician before simply jumping at the first “great deal” you see.

Why? Because there can be a big difference between simply choosing a hot water heater based on its affordable sticker price and a hot water heater that will deliver long term savings through high efficiency.

In other words, that cheap hot water heater can end up costing you far more over its long-term useful life.

Choosing the most affordable water heater often boils down to (we just can’t help it) paying more attention to operating efficiency than to sticker price.

How to Choose the Most Efficient Hot Water Heater for Your Needs

Turning your attention from simple sticker price to lifelong operational efficiency isn’t quite so easy in terms of the research you have to do.

How do you pick a hot water heater that will save you money, not just now, but in the future? Well, the first step is to understand the basic question, “how does a hot water heater work?”. Once we know how it works, we can make a smarter decision on what type of water heater to purchase. 

Before starting your search, contact our Shipton’s Heating and Cooling Experts in Hamilton, Ontario! We can help you understand how a hot water heater works and how often a water heater should be replaced.

Steps To Choosing An Efficient Hot Water Heater:

Now that you know how this system works and whether you need to replace yours or not, we can discuss how to choose the right one! 

There are several things to look at and we will tackle each one by one.

Step 1: Select Your Hot Water Heater Fuel Type

Modern hot water heaters can operate using a variety of fuel types, from electric to natural gas, propane to solar – even hybrid systems are available.

But what is the cheapest in terms of energy costs?

This often depends on the energy prices in your service area. For most customers, natural gas will likely be the cheapest – if you already have the infrastructure.

For homes with no gas service, electricity will likely be the cheapest.

Step 2: Tankless Water Heater Vs. Tank

The next decision that can impact long-term energy and efficiency-related costs is the type of hot water heater you choose. Is a tankless water heater worth it? 

Today, there are two main types: tank hot water heaters and tankless hot water heaters.

Tank capacity can range from 20 to 50 gallons or more. Not surprisingly, this can require a lot of floor space – both for the tank itself and for the minimum safety clearance, which will depend on the fuel type.

Here is a general guideline you can consider for choosing your tank size:

  • Individual or couple: 20 to 30 gallon tank.
  • Family of four: 30 to 50 gallons.
  • Each additional person in the household: add 10 gallons to the tank size.

How does a tankless water heater work?

Tankless hot water heaters, as the name indicates, don’t have a tank at all. They operate on demand.

Here, you might be wondering how you choose a size if there is no tank to guide you?

Choosing the correct size tankless hot water heater is slightly more complex.

First, you need to estimate how many hot water appliances you may need to run at the same time and the flow rate and water temperature requirements for each.

Next, you look at the maximum output flow rate and temperature rise (how quickly the heater can heat the water to your desired temperature) on the tankless water heater.

Finally, look at the fuel type. For example, gas-powered tankless water heaters generally produce a quicker temperature rise than electric-powered tankless water heaters.

As you can see, this is another area where it can really help to have input from your Shipton’s service technician!

Step 3: Don’t Forget to Calculate Hot Water Heater Professional Installation Costs

How much is a tankless water heater or tank water heater?

It is vitally important for overall budgeting purposes to remember that the sticker price of your new hot water heater (whether tank or tankless) is not your only expense.

For safety as well as operational efficiency reasons, you will also want to purchase professional installation.

Unless you have professional experience with hot water heater installation, it is smarter and safer to have a professional technician install your new heater.

We say this for five key reasons:

1. An improperly installed TPR (temperature and pressure release) valve can cause a memorable explosion!

2. Water damage repair and remediation costs from improper hot water heater installation can easily run into the tens of thousands (and usually isn’t covered by a homeowner insurance policy).

3. If you try to install your hot water heater and damage it, this will likely void your manufacturer warranty.

4. Improper setup of fuel connections or gas lines can have disastrous consequences.

5. An improperly installed hot water heater will not deliver maximum efficiency.

Shipton’s Is the Hot Water Heater Expert In Hamilton Ontario

Are you tired of running out of hot water every day? Do you have to stagger things like cooking, showering and washing clothes? We can help.

Whether you’re asking yourself if a tankless water heater is worth it, or are curious about a tankless water heater vs tank water heater – we’ve got the answers!

Give our friendly, knowledgeable technicians a call at 1-905-549-4616 or visit us online for prompt, professional, contact-less service, invoicing and payment options.

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