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What you should know about choosing a hot water heater

Most of us take hot water for granted. It is just one of those modern conveniences that we don’t miss until it’s unavailable due to a faulty or inefficient water heater. If you need to replace your water heater, or if you need to upgrade, there are a number of things to consider. Here’s what we tell our clients when they are faced with the same concerns:

Size Matters When it Comes to Water Heaters

There are three standard sizes of water heaters for residential use. They come in 30-gallon, 40-gallon or 50-gallon sizes, but larger ones are available. A 30-50-gallon hot water heater is sufficient for a home with one bathroom, while a home with 2 or more bathrooms should opt for a 66-80-gallon electric or a 50-gallon gas water heater.

It is generally okay to replace your old water heater with a new one of the same size, unless you recently added an additional bathroom, or a water-using appliance such as a washing machine or dishwasher.

Another great reason to install a new hot water heater, is to update to a newer model that is more energy efficient and good for the environment.

Types of Hot Water Heaters

You can choose from a variety of hot water heaters. Electric water heaters are most commonly used for large households with high water demands. Homes with small children or elderly people usually require more hot water, and will therefore need bigger hot water heaters, as will homes with abnormally large bathtubs.

Gas hot water heaters don’t need to be as big as electric water heaters to supply the same amount of water, as gas can recover its full capacity and more in an hour. An electric hot water heater that runs at 240 volts will only be able to heat 20 gallons in the same time.

Tankless hot water heaters are becoming increasingly popular. Available in both gas and electric, the units heat water only when it is in use, rather than storing and heating water for future use. Standard electric hot water heater units will heat and reheat the water several times a day to keep it hot and ready to be used.

Gas hot water heaters are generally considered to be more effective, as they use less energy and heat water quicker than electrical units.

Tank-less units virtually never run out of hot water, which eliminates much inconvenience.

Whichever option you choose, it is important to consider your home’s needs, and that of your family. If you opt for a standard electrical water heater, due to the lower initial outlay, or for whatever reason, you could still save some money by installing a timer device that turns the heater on at certain times every day.

Written by Tanya Klien

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