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About 27 million households in the United States have a water heater that’s more than 10 years old. But when it comes time to replace yours, how do you choose? It’s important to do your research and make comparisons when selecting your next water heater. There are several common types of water heaters that run on different fuels, and each will impact operating costs differently.

Storage Tank Water Heater

A storage tank water heater holds hot water in a tank until it’s needed, at which time the water is pumped from a pipe at the top of the unit. Storage tank water heaters run on propane gas or natural gas. Natural gas models use less energy than electric models, but are also more expensive to purchase. Storage tank water heaters are the most common, and they come in different sizes, from three gallon to more than 100 gallons, depending on your need or family size.

Tankless water heater

Tankless water heaters use heating coils to warm water, as you need it. Either a gas burner or an electric element heats the unit as water travels through it. Because these units do not store water, they’re more energy efficient, but they only provide a certain amount of hot water per minute – roughly 3.5 gallons. Tankless water heaters cost significantly more than storage tank models, but if you can handle less hot water on demand and the initial cost, tankless water heaters are compact, safe-saving units with a life expectancy of up to 20 years, which is double that of a storage tank water heater.

Once you know about your options, it’s important to incorporate these factors into your water heater selection:

  • The demand level and frequency for hot water in your household
  • If your model will need to run on gas or electric power and whether your home already supports that type of energy source
  • The location of the unit – especially of you’re switching to a new type of unit and it needs more space
  • Life expectancy vs. cost of the unit
  • Warranty coverage

We know water heaters, so if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to your local experts at Howe, Inc. for valuable insight and information regarding your next water heater.