Which Hot Water Heater Is Best For Your Home And Lifestyle?

Shipton's Heating and Cooling in Hamilton helps homeowners find the hot water heater that works best for their home and lifestyle.

A reliable hot water heater is a staple home appliance for Canadian homeowners. It’s used to bring hot water to showers, laundry washing machines, dishwashers, bathroom faucets, kitchen faucets…etc.!

Essentially every appliance that requires hot water in your home relies on your hot water heater.

But somehow, even though you use it each and every day of your life, it usually goes unnoticed.

That is…until it breaks.

If you’re on the search for a new, reliable hot water heater, keep reading! We’re about to explore 6 popular water heater models.

Choosing The Hot Water Heater That’s Right For You

When selecting a new hot water heater, there are a few key factors to consider:

Fuel Type

When selecting an energy source for your water heater, it’s important to explore its availability and cost.

While some are readily available, others are not.

And while some come at an incredible price, others can quickly break the bank.

Water Heater Fuel Options:

  • Electricity
  • Fuel oil
  • Geothermal
  • Natural Gas
  • Propane
  • Solar Energy

We’ll explore some of these options more in-depth below. But for now, consider what fuel type you currently use for heating and cooling. Electricity? Natural gas? Many people centralize their fuel types so that everything runs on the same system. This means your current fuel choice could help you select the energy source for your hot water heater.


The size of your hot water heater is crucial. 

Too small, and it won’t be a reliable source of hot water for your entire household.

Too large, and you’re wasting money and energy heating water you don’t need. 

The right water heater size provides adequate hot water at maximum efficiency.

Energy Efficiency

The energy efficiency of your water heater is vital – especially with the cost of living today. You want maximum energy AND cost savings.

So, before you choose your new hot water heater, be sure to check its efficiency rating!

Operation Costs

Lastly, you’ll want to factor in the operating costs of a new water heater tank before you purchase it. That includes the annual cost of running your hot water heater and any foreseeable maintenance visits.

We always recommend booking a consultation with an HVAC professional to discuss these operation costs before deciding on your system.

6 Different Types of Water Heaters

Although all hot water heaters provide the same result, each operates slightly different. And all have their own pros and cons.

Discover which water heater suits your home, family and lifestyle best below!

Storage Water Heaters

The storage water heater is also referred to as a tank water heater. This system has a reservoir of hot water stored in a tank at all times. That way, when someone turns on the hot water tap, the tank can release instant hot water from the top of its tank.

And as hot water leaves the top of the tank, more cold water enters the bottom – creating a continuous heating cycle.

If you have a large family, you’ll need to ensure you install a large enough tank. Otherwise, you’ll run out of hot water faster than it can heat it.

But don’t get too big of a tank!

A large tank can waste energy and money trying to keep an unnecessary amount of water hot 24/7.


  • Lower upfront costs.
  • Allows simultaneous use of hot water appliances.


  • Standby heat loss.
  • Shorter lifespan (10-15 years).
  • Lengthy preheating time.

Tankless (On-Demand) Water Heaters

The tankless water heater offers on-demand water heating. It doesn’t rely on a storage tank full of hot water but instead heats it as needed.

Because it heats on demand, a tankless heater ensures that you’ll essentially never run out of hot water!

How do you size a tankless hot water heater?

Since there’s no tank involved, you have to consider flow rate rather than tank size.

Flow rates for tankless systems usually range between 2-5 gallons per minute – meaning they can heat up to 5 gallons of water in a single minute!

But while going tankless does ensure on-demand heating, it can only do so much! If 2-5 gallons per minute is not enough for your family’s hot water needs, you may need to install multiple heaters.


  • 8-24% more efficient than storage heaters.
  • No standby heat loss.
  • Lower operating costs.
  • Lower maintenance costs.
  • More cost-efficient (no risk of standby heat loss).
  • Longer lifespan (20+ years).


  • Higher upfront costs.
  • May not be able to keep up with high hot water demands.

Tankless Coil Water Heaters

A tankless coil water heater functions similarly to the tankless option we just mentioned. The main difference is that a tankless coil heats water on the way to its destination.

This model uses a heating coil or heat exchanger installed within your home furnace or boiler. So, as you can probably guess, these systems are very efficient during the cold winter when these heating systems are already turned on.


  • No standby heat loss
  • More efficient during colder months.
  • Lower upfront costs.
  • Lower maintenance costs.


  • Can be inefficient for Canadian homes with warmer seasons.
  • Only lasts about 10 years.

Indirect Water Heaters

An indirect hot water heater functions similarly to a tankless coil system. How? It also uses your home furnace or boiler. However, this system is not tankless.

In an indirect water heater, the furnace or boiler heats and circulates fluid through the heat exchanger within a storage tank. This allows the water in the storage tank to heat up


  • The energy stored in the water tank allows the furnace to power off and on less often.
  • Lower maintenance.
  • Lower upfront costs.
  • Fast recovery time (more hot water available).


  • Takes up a lot of space.
  • Only lasts about 10 years.

Solar Water Heaters

The solar hot water heater is a great choice for a more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly home. Its fuel source is the sun, which is entirely free and 100% renewable!

A solar water heater has two main parts: the storage tank and the solar collector. Like a storage heater, this tank holds a large reservoir of water. But instead of using a fuel source like electricity or gas to heat the water, it uses the energy from the sun!


  • 50% More efficient than gas or electric water heaters.
  • Efficient in any climate (as long as sunshine is present).
  • More environmentally friendly.


  • Higher upfront costs.
  • May require a backup system (a cloudy day or high demand can lower its efficiency).

Heat Pump Water Heaters

We’ve talked about heat pumps before, but not usually in regards to their hot water heater functionality. Usually, when you hear about heat pumps, you think about a heat pump furnace or air conditioner. But you can use them as a water heating system too!

In fact, heat pump water heaters usually come in two options: air-source and geothermal.

Air-source heat pump water heaters draw heat from surrounding air and transfer it to a storage tank to heat the water inside.

Dusuperheaters are secondary heat exchangers that offer a geothermal approach to water heating. Geothermal heating uses thermal energy found in the ground as a heat source. And with a desuperheater, you can efficiently transfer this thermal energy to your hot water tank!


  • 2-3 times more energy efficient than a conventional water heater.
  • Lasts about 10-14 years.
  • More energy efficient.
  • More environmentally friendly.
  • Cheaper operational costs.


  • You can only install these systems in locations that remain at 4-32 degrees Celsius year-round.

Find The Hot Water Heater That’s Right For You At Shipton’s Heating and Cooling!

Did one of the above water heaters catch your eye? Do you have more questions?

We’d love to discuss your options with you in more depth!

Give our office a call at (289) 203-4616 or message us online!

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