Choosing a hot water tank can be tough. Most of us don’t know that much about our water heaters, and don’t think about them until it’s too late. So if your hot water tank has failed, or you think that it may be nearing the end of its service life, you may be wondering how to choose a new one.
Replacing a hot water tank can be a big financial investment, which is why we recommend that you take your time, and do your own research to purchase a hot water tank that offers low running costs, a great warranty, and plentiful capacity for your family.
Not sure how to get started? Here’s a guide that’s sure to help.
- Calculate The Proper Capacity For Your Home
First, you’ll want to consider what capacity you actually need for your home. If your home has an oversized (or undersized) hot water heater, you may be paying more than you need to on your water heating bills.
So, how should you calculate the capacity that you and your family need? If you live with one other person in a small condo or home, you may need a smaller, 23-36 gallon tank. However, if you live in a larger house with 3-5 family members, you may need a tank with a 46-56 gallon capacity.
This calculator from Energy.gov can help you calculate the proper capacity for your water heater. Smaller heaters are typically cheaper, and cost less to run, while larger heaters are more expensive, but can deliver more heated water on-demand.
- Look At Running Costs – Not Just Purchase Costs
You may be getting sticker shock when shopping for a hot water tank – but don’t just think about the initial purchase price of a hot water heater.
Energy efficiency is absolutely critical for your hot water tank. Even if you spend a bit more money for a more efficient, well-insulated tank, your investment will pay off, in the long run.
Water heating consumes about 20% of the power usage for most households. This means it’s only behind the HVAC system when it comes to year-round power usage.
If you spend a bit of extra money on a highly-efficient water heater, you can save significantly on your gas or electric bill each month. And, given that most hot water tanks have an expected lifespan of 12+ years, this adds up.
For the sake of example, let’s say that your old hot water heater used $40 of energy per month, and you’ve purchased a model that’s 10% more efficient. Your bill will drop to $36 per month. Multiply that by the service life of the unit, and that’s a savings of $576.
Real-life efficiency ratings vary, of course, but the same principle applies. By spending a little bit more on a more efficient hot water tank, you can save a lot of money in the long run.
- Decide Between Electricity And Gas
Usually, the least expensive option when shopping for a hot water tank is to buy a tank that uses the same fuel source as your old tank.
That is to say, it will usually be cheaper to hook up a new electric hot water tank than it would be to switch to gas – because there would be no additional labor required to run new gas lines, and so on.
However, this is not always the case. You may want to switch between gas and electric, depending on the cost of power and gas in your area. In some cases, the cost of natural gas may be much higher than electricity, making it worth spending the extra money to install a gas model. The opposite may also be true, and it could be wise to switch to an electric unit.
Gas models are also slightly more efficient than electric hot water tanks, so this may be another factor to consider if you’re thinking about switching. Think through your finances and utility costs, and you’ll be able to decide which option is right for you.
Consider These Three Factors When Shopping For A Tank!
By choosing a properly-sized tank, focusing on energy efficiency, and opting for a gas or electric unit, depending on your utility costs, you can save quite a bit of money when installing a new hot water tank. So follow these tips now, and you’re sure to find a unit that’s right for your finances