Arriving home after your workout, you head to the shower, knowing you'll have plenty of hot water, regardless of how many family members preceded you. Aren't you glad you took our quiz to learn all there is to know about choosing a water heater?
Heat pumps take heat from the air and deliver it to water via electricity. They're two to three times more efficient than electric water heaters; however, consumer demand is low, and there are few manufacturers of heat pumps.
The average life span of a conventional water heater is 10 years. The most common reason for replacement is that the tank bursts because of corrosion.
Electric water heaters are cheaper to purchase than fuel-burning models. In addition to costing less, they do not require venting.
Electricity does not heat water as efficiently as other fuel sources, but electricity is often cheaper than other alternatives.
Solar water heaters are best suited to areas that have abundant sunshine. Solar systems can be used in conjunction with a conventional system, much like a hybrid car uses both gasoline and electricity, to cut your water heating bill as much as 80 percent.
Burning fuel to heat your water results creates carbon dioxide and water vapor. These byproducts must be vented through a chimney or wall vent.
Heat pump water heaters cost more than conventional units. In addition, the outside temperature must be between 40 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 32 degrees Celsius) for these units to heat water.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that about 12 gallons (45 liters) of water are used during a shower -- and we're assuming you want that water to be hot.
A four-person household requires a 40- to 50-gallon (151- to 189-liter) water heater to adequately supply enough hot water. If your water heater is smaller, someone will likely have a cold shower.
The advantage of a tankless hot water heater is that it operates only when you need hot water. When you turn on a hot water tap, the unit starts heating the water very quickly.
Because tankless water heaters do not store water at a temperature that must be maintained, they are less expensive to operate. And without a tank, there is no rupturing and flooding!
According to America's Energy Star program, you could save up to 20 percent from your water heating bill if you use a tankless model, and many tankless water heaters qualify for federal tax rebates.
Installation costs are typically very high for tankless water heaters. But if space is at a premium in your home, tankless units can be mounted on the wall to save floor space.
A tankless water heater will normally give dependable service for 15 to 20 years.
In America, look for the yellow Energy Star label to check the efficiency of any modern appliance. Be sure what you purchase has the Energy Star rating clearly posted.
Energy Star uses an energy factor (EF) to rate each water heater. The EF is the ratio of hot water produced and the energy used over a 24-hour period.
Check the Consumer's Directory of Certified Efficiency Ratings for Residential Heating and Water Heating Equipment. This list of energy factor ratings is published twice a year and can be found online or in your public library.
The first hour rating (FHR) displayed on the Energy Star sticker is referred to as the recovery rate, which is the amount of water the unit can heat to the desired temperature in one hour.
The amount of water the tank holds and the recovery rate are the most important factors to consider when sizing storage tank heaters, especially for a large family.
If you have limited headroom where your heater should go, look for "lowboy" models. These models are shorter and bigger around but have the same capacity as their taller counterparts.