Water Heaters: Making a Tough Decision Easier
One of the most important decisions homeowners face involves the purchase of a new water heater. From questions of efficiency to safety, buying the appropriate water heater is no longer a simple matter. The ramifications of an uninformed decision can be costly and long lasting.
General Purchasing Considerations
There are several factors to consider when making a water heater purchase. Two significant factors are efficiency and size. The efficiency of a unit can be measured by its Energy Factor. This number can usually be found somewhere on the heater and is an excellent tool for comparing appliances. The size of the heater must be such that it can produce enough hot water to meet the household's needs during peak usage.
Look Closesly at the Energy Guide
An energy guide is a yellow and black label that is affixed to new water heaters. This label gives information about the heater's level of efficiency as well as estimates of associated energy costs.
The Right Types of Water Heaters
Once the homeowner has addressed the aforementioned factors, the most important question still remains: What is the correct type of water heater for my home? There are currently several types of water heaters on the market and each has associated pros and cons.
The storage tank water heater is inexpensive, easily installed and lasts up to 15 years. It does have some efficiency loss because it must maintain the stored water at a specific temperature.
The tankless water heater is an excellent alternative. The higher purchase price is offset by the fact that it can save as much as 30% on energy costs and has a life expectancy of 20 years. This type of heater has a limited flow capacity and can become inefficient during peak usage.
Heat pump water heaters are similar in cost to storage tank heaters but are much more efficient. Due to the fact that the heat pump heater uses the surrounding air to heat the water, there are significant restrictions on where it can be placed. These heaters work best when temperatures are between 40 and 90 degrees. They also require 1000 cubic feet of space to operate efficiently.
The costliest water heating system is the solar water heater. It is efficient and can have no energy costs. The system does have significant restrictions as to where it can be placed and may require a back up system for cloudy days and high demand periods.
Not sure what water heater works for your Berkeley home? Call Albert Nahman Plumbing at 510-843-6904, and get the best advice from the professionals.