The first consideration when selecting a water heater is the heating method used. You can select from both electric and gas options. Consider the costs of each of these fuels in your area to determine which the best option is. However, if you are replacing an existing system, switching from electric to gas may require the use of a professional to move the gas lines.
How Big Is Big Enough?
Next, consider the size of the system. These are often sold based on the number of gallons they can hold. Most systems will tell you if they are a good fit for your home based on the number of people living there. Generally speaking, follow these guidelines:
- For homes with five or more people, a minimum capacity system of 80 gallons is a good idea.
- With three to four people, select a 50-gallon system.
- With two to three people, the 40-gallon system may be efficient enough.
- For those homes with just one or two people, 30-gallon systems may be adequate.
Getting the right size is important. If the tank is too large, it will consistently need to run to hold the water at the right temperature. If you do not need as much, though, this is a waste of money. Reduce the size to save energy bills.
It is a good idea to look at the recovery rate, which is the amount of time it takes to reheat after you’ve used it. The manufacturer will list the number of gallons the system can heat per hour. The higher your demand is, the higher this rating should be. Energy efficiency is also important. Look for a system that is rated as energy efficient under Energy Star guidelines. Finally, ensure the dimensions of the tank are right to fit into the area you have available for it.