Five Considerations When Shopping for a New Water Heater


When the time comes to replace your old water heater – or to choose a water heating system for your newly built home – you are going to have some decisions to make.

Builders tend to push one type of water heating system over others (usually the one that’s least expensive for them to install), and homebuyers tend to replace their water heater with something similar to what they already have. But there are other options; to make the best choice for your home, you need to start with some water heater basics.

Here’s a quick “101” about the five significant things you will need to take into account when choosing a new water heater for your Middle Tennessee or Southern Kentucky home.

  1. Water heater type – There are three basic categories of water heater:
    • Conventional water heaters, where water is heated then stored in a tank;
    • Tankless water heaters, where water is heated instantly on demand; and
    • Tankless coil and indirect water heaters, which use heat generated by your furnace or boiler to also warm your water.
  2. Fuel type – The fuel you use to heat your water will affect how much it costs – sometimes dramatically. Switching from an electric water heater (a low-cost favorite of many builders) to a high efficiency propane water heater could save you 30 percent on energy bills every month, for example.
  3. Size/Capacity – You need enough heating capacity to meet your family’s need for hot water, but not so much that you’re heating water you won’t use. Right-sizing a water heater can get tricky without some professional guidance.

    Capacity in a conventional or indirect water heater is measured by the size of the storage tank and the unit’s recovery rate (how long it takes to reheat a tank full of water); capacity in a tankless system is measured by flow rate, or how much water can be instantly heated. Stay tuned for more on these concepts in a future blog!

  4. Energy efficiency – Right sizing, proper installation, the efficiency rating of the water heater itself, and other factors – including, for conventional water heaters, heat loss when you’re not actually using hot water (called standby heat loss) – all affect efficiency.
  5. Costs – It’s smart to compare not just the cost to purchase a new water heater, but to calculate the total cost of ownership for each option, which includes fuel costs, life expectancy of the unit, and more. For example, the up-front cost of a tankless water heater is typically significantly higher than a conventional water heater (as much as double), but it also reduces water heating energy bills by 30 percent or more every month and can last twice as long as its conventional counterpart, often making it a wiser long-term investment.

Whatever water heater option you choose, it’s a good idea to reduce your water usage when you can and to make sure you service your equipment regularly to keep it running at peek efficiency.

Contact Advanced Propane today for a FREE estimate on a new, high efficiency water heating system for your home – or to schedule a service visit to keep your current system running at its best.