Water heaters are one of the most essential, yet under-appreciated appliances in any home. They account for roughly 25% of all your energy bills so they’re doing a lot of work. Typically, a standard tank hot water heater has a lifetime of 8-12 years. Likewise, a tankless water heater should last closer to 20 years. It’s generally only once the heater develops a leak or stops producing hot water that we even remember them.
Types of Water Heaters
There are basically three types of water heaters: standard tank, tankless and heat pump water heaters. Tank, standard, or traditional water heaters are the most common and use a large heated storage tank of water to provide water for showers and faucets. Tankless water heaters, or “on-demand” water heaters, heat water as needed, meaning they can provide endless hot water.
Heat pump water heaters (currently only available in electric) are similar to a traditional tank water heater except a compressor on top of the unit preheats water by transferring heat from the ambient air temperature. Heat pump water heaters are extremely energy efficient and a particularly good option if you do not have gas to your home but are interested in saving energy (and money).
Within these three types, there are many variations, usually the difference being more energy efficiency. Also, most styles can be powered by electricity or natural gas, depending on the fuel source for your home and region.
Water Heater Efficiency Factor
The Efficiency Factor, or EF, is the measure of how efficiently your water heater converts energy to transfer heat into you water. With two identically-sized water heaters using the same amount of water, the unit with a higher EF, will use less energy.
Standard tank water heaters usually have an EF of .58-.62 (meaning 58-60% efficient), while Energy Star models are rated at .67 or higher. Electric tank water heaters have very high EFs, above .90, but the energy source is much less efficient, actually making them more expensive to run. Tankless water heaters offer high EFs (.92+) so they can offer energy savings throughout their lifetime.
Water Heater First Hour Rating
Usually the most prominent number found on your water heater tank will be the first hour rating. This is not the capacity of the tank, but rather how many gallons of hot water it can produce in its first hour of operation.
Factors such as the temperature of the water coming in to your home and your water pressure can impact this rating.
We offer three warranties on all our water heaters – a standard, 6-year warranty, an advanced, 10-year warranty, and our top-of-the-line, 15-year warranty, which features the installation of a second, corrosion-preventing anode rod. All warranties offer 1-year protection on labor and the remaining years on parts.
With very few exceptions, we are required to pull a permit whenever we install or replace a new water heater. This is done as a safety precaution, and in no way slows down our technicians. We can pull the permit on your behalf and in 4-6 weeks you will receive it, at which time you can schedule an inspection of the installation.