Buying a hot water heater should be easy, right? But it's not, buying a hot water heater can get really complicated.
So the first question is when should you buy a new hot water heater? That depends on how old your current hot water heater is and hopefully you know the answer. Hot water heaters generally last 8 to 12 years, with less expensive ones failing faster than water heaters made with higher quality parts. For example, more expensive water heaters have two anode rods that rust out and protect your tank (learn more about anode rods). Water heaters also last longer when you drain and flush the tank every year to remove the sediment, and replace the anode rods as needed.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Hot Water Heater
If you are getting close to needing a new hot water heater, then consider replacing yours this month because … there's a federal tax credit for installing energy efficient hot water heaters but it ends December 31, 2013. So here are the decisions you need to make when buying a new hot water heater, along with a fun infographic from the Department of Energy (DOE).
- What type of fuel do you use for your hot water heater? Solar (tax credit until 2016) and heat pumps are much more energy efficient. If you have an electric water heater, do you have an opportunity to switch to gas?
- Do you have enough hot water today? The capacity of your hot water heater affects how long a shower you can take (or 2 at once) and heating bills. You might benefit from increasing (or decreasing) your hot water capacity and this becomes more critical when switching to a tankless hot water heater.
- What type of hot water heater do you want to buy? The infographic below lays out lots of useful information, and they include a not about cost, that “… it is important to not only look at the purchase cost, but also the installation, operating and maintenance costs to determine if it is worth investing in a more efficient water heating system.”
- Which hot water heaters qualify for the tax credit? That's a tough question to answer as the DOE website no longer lists all the eligible water heaters. Here's the list provided to Oregon homeowners and don't get confused by their “state tax credit” which is in addition to the federal tax credit.
- What other factors should you consider when buying a hot water heater? A hot water tank takes up a lot of space, so switching to a tankless water heater could free up space. If your house is large and the water isn't really hot enough when it gets to the last bathroom, you might find 2 tankless water heaters located closer to where you need hot water, will fit your home's floor plan better.
Hot Water Heater Infographic
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so please let me know if you like this format better.