The P. Gagnon & Son Blog

Water Heater Replacement Basics

Water heater set

Posted: January 23, 2018

When it comes time to choose a new water heater, there are many options available to you. Making a smart choice is important, because one dollar of every five you spend on home energy comes from heating the water you need for your faucets and appliances.

Here are four factors you’ll need to consider when choosing a new water heater for your southern New Hampshire- or Maine-area home:

  1. Water heater type

    There are three broad categories of water heater from which you’ll have to choose:

    • Conventional water heaters, which have a storage tank
    • Tankless water heaters, which heat water instantly on demand
    • Indirect water heaters, which use your home heating system to warm water

    Generally speaking:

    • Conventional water heaters cost less up front but are less efficient than the other two options, so your monthly bills will be higher.
    • In addition to being highly efficient, tankless heaters are more compact, so they’re better for tight spaces. And because they heat water on demand rather than storing it for later use, you’ll never run out of hot water (as long as the capacity of your unit matches your usage – see #3 below).
    • Indirect water heaters can be extremely efficient (essentially heating your water for free during the winter months), but require space for a tank and integration with your home heating system, which makes them more costly to install.
  2. Fuel type – The fuel you use to heat your water will affect how much it costs – sometimes dramatically. Both gas- and oil-fired systems are significantly more efficient than electric water heaters, for example.
  3. Capacity – In conventional and indirect systems, capacity is equal to the size of the storage tank. In a tankless system, capacity equals the number of gallons of water your model can heat per minute. Right-sizing your water heater is one of the keys to efficiency.
  4. Energy efficiency – In addition to right-sizing, the actual efficiency rating of the water heater itself (measured by its energy factor, or EF) is important.

The bottom line: If you want to make a smart choice for your new water heater, you’ll want to consider not just the cost of the unit itself, but the total cost of ownership (TCO) for having it in your home. TCO takes all the factors above into account and can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the course of the life of your water heater.

Need help choosing new water heater for your Seacoast home? That’s what we’re here for. Contact us for a FREE estimate on a new, high efficiency water heating system today!