4 Factors to Consider When Purchasing a New Water Heater

Oct 12 2015

Water heaters are an investment and you want to make the right choice when buying a new one. Heating your water is the second largest expense in a home, it accounts for 14-18% of the utility bill each month. This averages out to each household spending between $400-$600 dollars per year to heat their water. These statistics are the reason we need to put serious consideration into which heater we buy, it’s an important part of daily life and a large expense. The selection process to purchasing a new water heater is simple, you look at the fuel type, size and storage type, energy efficiency, and costs.

Selection Process:

1. Fuel type, Availability, and Cost.


  • Uses one or two replaceable heating elements to heat your water
  • Less expensive
  • Variety of high-efficiency options available
  • Propane or Gas
  • Uses a burner to heat water
  • Needs circulating air around it
  • More expensive than electric water heaters
  • More energy efficient than electric water heaters

Heat Pump or Hybrid

  • Uses energy from the air to heat the water (can use inside or outside air).
  • Can be built in to tanks or added onto a tank.
  • Larger than standard electric water heaters
  • More expensive on front end, more energy efficient to save money on bills.

2. Size and Storage Type.


  • To ensure you will have enough hot water when you want to use it, calculate your household’s peak-hour hot water demand and use that to determine a proper size.

Storage Tanks

  • These are the most common type of water heaters, classified by the amount of water the tank can hold.
  • These have a tank where the water is heated and stored until it is needed.
  • Tank size is really important to take into consideration. If you purchase a tank that is too small you will run out of water before you finish your shower, dishes, or laundry. I a tank that is too large will be paying more for heating water you won’t use.

Tankless or On-Demand

  • These do not store hot water, they heat it as it passes through the coils into the unit. It only heats water and you need/use it.
  • More energy efficient than traditional storage tanks.
  • Produces more gallons of hot water per minute than many other systems.
  • Flow rate of hot water is limited, not typically recommended for people using for than 2 hot water spots at once regularly.

3. Energy Efficiency.

Energy Factor (EF), this is the main thing to look for when trying to find out how efficient the water heater is. The EF is determined by:

  • Recovery Efficiency. How efficiently the heat from the fuel is transferred to the water. Recovery is important on these depending on size and how much water you use. If the rate is slow you will run out of hot water while you need it.
  • Standby Losses. This is the percentage of the heat loss per hour from the stored water compared to the water’s heat.
  • Cycling Losses. The loss of heat as water circulates through a tank or pipes.

4. Costs

When purchasing a new water heater it is important to look at the big picture. There are more costs to consider when buying a new unit:

  • Water heater purchase costs
  • Installation costs
  • Operating costs
  • Maintenance costs

Superior gives you every advantage in evaluating and selecting a water heater that is compatible with your home and budget. Call us today at 208-343-7683 for a free estimate and consultation, and to find out how you can reduce your home energy costs with our energy efficient water heaters.