THE BEST WATER HEATER DEAL
The best water heater deal isn’t always the cheapest. In fact, if you want to save money on your bills in the long-term, it may well be best to spend a little more initially.
Buyers today will encounter a plethora of options and can often be perplexed by the amount of regulations, detailing which water heater is the most energy-efficient.
Energy costs of our homes are an ongoing expense we all need to manage. As almost 20% of the cost is down to water heating alone, it is important to get the best water heater deal you can.
Improvements in technology have made modern water heaters much more efficient. For example, units larger than 55 gallons can potentially slash 25-to-50% off your annual utility bills.
If you have a unit that is near the end of its warranty period, it would be a smart decision to look into buying a new one soon. It could save you a lot of money in the long run.
While it helps to get familiar with the current regulations by speaking to a professional or else a manufacturer, ultimately this guide will ensure you can find the best water heater deal for you.
Capacity and Usage
One common misconception people make when looking for the best water heater deal is thinking they need a water heater with a capacity equivalent to their daily usage.
For example, let’s consider the average household of four people. The family may each have showers on a daily basis. They also may do laundry and use the dishwasher. At a rough estimate, this could amount to over 100 gallons of water in a single day. However, they shouldn’t rush out to buy a huge 100 gallon tank.
When looking for the best water heater deal, don’t worry so much about your daily use. Instead, consider the capacity of the heaters you look at.
To understand this better, you should get familiar with the following two fundamentals:
- Gallons-Per-Minute (GPM) is the number of gallons of hot water that the water heater can potentially produce in one minute. This is the rating used for a tankless water heater.
- First-Hour Rating (FHR) is the amount of hot water that a heater can possibly produce within the first sixty minutes. It is the rating used for water heaters that have a storage tank.
Whether the water temperature remains hot or not will depend on how fast the water is being used. In the end, it will return to its full FHR after a short period of time, dependent on the model and its capacity. The best water heater deal will essentially have a great FHR or GPM rating.
What about on-demand heaters?
Unless equipped with auxiliary tanks, these models don’t actually hold water in reserve. On-demand heaters will have a GPM and are reliable in the sense that the flow of hot water is continuous to a single outlet.
However, if you have several outlets drawing hot water together, such as the shower and dishwasher, then the temperature may drop. If this is going to happen often, the best water heater deal for someone using this type of heater may involve buying two units.
Another mistake people make is thinking their new heater is going to fit perfectly in place of the old model. The best water heater deal is going to be a model with vast improvements in insulation and efficiency, which means it will likely be taller or wider than older models.
Water Heaters – Different Types
Buyers in the market for the best water heater deal have many choices available to them. Whether you use electricity, gas or oil, you’re guaranteed to encounter big claims from various brands about how much they can cut off your utility bills.
Storage Tank Water Heater
The most commonly-used type of heater has a simple design, comprising a tank, which is insulated to keep the water hot until it is required, which is drawn from the tank through a pipe mounted on the top of the unit.
A valve controls the pressure in the tank and a temperature gauge enables us to see how hot the water inside is.
Gas models of this type are more expensive up-front but could still be the best water heater deal in comparison to an electric version as the gas version costs about half as much to run.
On-Demand Water Heater (Tank-less)
These models heat water as required through the use of heating coils. As they don’t store the water, they have greater energy-efficiency. However, their GPM is quite limited; typically averaging around 3.5.
If you use natural gas to heat water in your home and typically don’t use a lot of water sources at the same time, then this may be the best water heater deal for you.
However, electric models are costly and these types of water heater don’t fare well when several machines are drawing water at one time.
Heat Pump (Hybrid) Water Heater
Capturing heat from surrounding air before transferring it directly to the water is very energy-efficient; about 60% more efficient than electric heaters in fact. Unfortunately hybrid models have some specific requirements that mean they are rarely the best water heater deal for most people:
- They must be used in a room with a steady temperature between 40 and 90 degrees.
- The unit’s heat pump on top requires up to 7-feet of clearance between the floor and ceiling.
- They need a lot of uncooled air around them in order to capture sufficient heat – typically about 1000 cubic feet.
- They need a drain nearby so condensation can be discharged.
Solar Water Heater
These are a fantastic option for summer savings and one that many recognize when they see the solar cells mounted on rooftops. If you live in a sunny region that gets a lot of great weather year-round, they are surely the best water heater deal. But if not, then you could suffer on cloudy days.
The huge up-front costs mean it could be many years, or even decades before you truly see the value of those lower bills.
Condensing Water Heater
Conventional water heaters waste a lot of energy by blasting exhaust gases out. Condensing model capture these gases and blows them through a heating coil, allowing cold water to absorb heat. These are a good option for people using gas and looking for a heater with capacity greater than 55 gallons.
Aspects to consider when looking for the best water heater deal
Typical coverage is between 3 and 12 years long. While those with 3-year warranties aren’t necessarily bad deals, it’s worthwhile choosing a heater with a longer warranty. These models will cost more but ultimately accelerate water heating through their larger elements and burners, making them the best water heater deal in comparison to those with a shorter warranty. They also tend to have better insulation which reduces heat loss.
Mineral scale is a big factor in how long your heating element will live. Some brand boast that their model is the best water heater deal because of a feature that reduces this effect by swirling water around the tank, thus reducing the build-up of scale.
You could buy one of these or else simply invest in a model that has a 12-year warranty. These come with a bigger element, which is less susceptible to scale issues.
Drain Valves – Brass or Plastic?
Water heaters will have valves close to the base, enabling the heater to be drained through a hose. When looking for the best water heater deal, it’s always smart to opt for the more durable brass valves rather than plastic ones.
Glass-Lined Heater Tanks
These tanks were designed specifically to reduce the effects of corrosion. If you want a heater that can last several decades, they may be the way to go.
Anyone looking the best water heater deal will want to feel they are getting the greatest value for their money. Having a digital display gives the user some element of control by allowing them to monitor water levels, temperatures and pressure readings. Furthermore, they can customize how the heater works. For examples, some models have vacation mode to reduce energy usage when the home is empty.
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