Factors to Consider when Looking for Affordable and Economical Water Heater

Factors to Consider when Looking for Affordable and Economical Water Heater
September 22, 2011 Lorelie

If you are looking for or planning to have a new and economical water heater unit, it is highly recommendable to always compare the prices of competing water heater units as well as some of the specifications that are crucial to your requirement. This would involve aspects such as unit cost, installation cost, heating capacity, and operating cost.  Doing a bit of research on these factors will enable you to choose the type of unit more suitable for you.  The unit cost basically depends on the brand, model, and water capacity you are looking for.  Different brands usually have different prices and it is up to you to weigh which one would be ideal for you, at least after considering some of the other factors.


Installation Cost

Storage tank water heaters are much easier to install than tankless models which is why they are also cheaper to install.  If you already have a storage tank unit but somehow needs replacing, it is best and cheaper to chose a similar tank model which uses the same fuel as the current water heater.  However, if you plan on upgrading your standard tank model with a heat pump or efficiency tank model, you may want to get ready to pay a little extra.  This is because even if the connections remains the same, the installer may need to add extra insulation on the area where the heat pump will be placed, or the new tank may not fit snuggly into the space previously occupied by your old unit.  If you think that the space available is a bit restricted, it is best to try to get the measurements first before attempting to buy a new unit.

If you are thinking of replacing your current storage tank water heater unit with a tankless type, you need to ready yourself for a bit higher installation cost, more especially with gas-fired tankless water heaters.  This is because using a gas-fire tankless unit will require you to upgrade your half inch gas lines to three-quarter inch ones.  In addition, since there will be high combustion temperatures, it is also necessary to upgrade to a new venting system.  Such added cost makes it very important to consider whether the conversion from a storage tank model to a gas tankless model is really beneficial and more economical in the long run.  On the other hand, if you decide to upgrade to electric tank models, although you may need to upgrade some of your electrical wirings and supply, the cost is not as significant as compared to converting the whole gas system.


Heating Capacity

Often, people who purchase storage tank models assess the prices of water heaters based on their storage capacity.  While storage capacity is indeed important, it is the heating capacity of the unit that is more important.  The heating capacity of a water heating unit is identified by its FHR (First Hour Rating) which can be found on the specs of the unit.  The FHR basically shows you how much heated water can be provided by the unit on a span of one hour.  It thereby reflects the overall heating capacity or power of the unit.  In order to be certain that the unit you are eyeing will meet your hot water demands, it is recommended to focus more on the FHR rather on the size of the tank as the better FHR will be able to meet your hot water needs during peak usage.

If you are looking for tankless water heaters, it would be a good idea to compare the prices of models that are able to meet or exceed your peak hot water usage during the cold seasons.


Operating Cost

Electric water heater units are basically a lot cheaper and more efficient as compared to gas-fired models.  However, since natural gas is a lot cheaper than electricity, the operating cost of gas-fired water heaters is a lot lower.  In addition, gas-fired models are also able to heat up water more quickly as compared to electric units.

High efficiency tank units are able to achieve efficiency with better insulation.  They incorporate heat traps as well as highly efficient heating systems which gives them above 95% heating efficiency levels.  High efficiency gas models on the other hand are usually 63-64% efficient.  They are also around 10% more efficient as standard gas models.  However, this very little increase in efficiency does not justify the high cost of the unit.  The only thing that makes them worth is perhaps is their durability as they are considerably more durable than standard models.

Tankless water heaters are more expensive than storage tank types.  However, it is the gas tankless types that are 20% more efficient than gas-fired storage tank models.  This higher efficiency is achieved as water is only being heated when it is needed.  The advantages of tankless water heaters is that you do not pay any operating cost when water is not being heated as compared to storage tank models wherein the water needs to be kept at a certain temperature even when it will not be used for days.

There tankless and storage tank gas-fired water heaters that are very efficient.  Their efficiency is achieved by using the heat that is normally vented out the chimney.  These gas-fired models are called condensing water heaters.  They are not only very efficient, but they are also eco-friendly as they enable the homeowner to have lower fuel cost.  In fact, the utility bill is reduced by up to 40% using this type of water heating system as compared to standard gas-fired models.

When it comes to water heater units, it is a known fact that more expensive and higher efficient models also have the lowest operating cost.  They are also likely to be eligible for tax credit and rebates.  This tax credit and rebate helps to significantly reduce the price of the unit.  The saving you get from the tax credit, rebate, and low operating cost will likely be more economical in the long run.

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