Purchasing a Hot Water Heater

Tips for choosing the best hot water heater for your home.

| July 16, 2012

  • Purchasing a Hot Water Heater
    Before rushing out to purchase a new water heater, there are several things to consider.
    Courtesy GE Appliances

  • Purchasing a Hot Water Heater

The water heater is the second biggest energy drain in the home behind the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system – also known as HVAC. Yet when it comes to understanding the requirements and specifications for water heaters, most homeowners don’t know the basics.

According to GE, almost 80 percent of consumers purchase a water heater only when their current unit breaks or leaks, and they are forced to look for a quick replacement. However, it’s important to know the facts about water heaters and consider different options before making such an important purchase. Use these tips to help you choose the best model for your home:

Look to energy guides and rebatesPay attention to how much energy each water heating unit uses and pay special attention to those models that are Energy Star-qualified. By selecting an Energy Star-qualified appliance, you’ll not only gain the best energy savings, but these water heaters may also qualify for utility rebates, which can lead to a savings between $100 and $1,000 depending on your region. This savings often means replacing your water heater can be relatively inexpensive, allowing you to invest in a more energy-efficient model that will help with continued savings down the road. Check the rebate finder at www.EnergyStar.gov for a list of rebates in your area. 

Don’t purchase based on price aloneIf you’re looking to save money, a moderately priced unit may seem appealing. But the truth of the matter is that water heating systems aren’t all created with efficiency in mind, and a cheaper unit up front may end up costing you more money over time. For example, the GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater from GE is 62 percent more efficient than the standard electric water heater. This energy savings can mean homeowners save up to $320 over the course of a year. Though the unit may cost a little more up front, the efficiency of the water heater can mean a difference of up to $3,000 in savings over 10 years.

Study fuel source and sizeBefore purchasing your replacement water heater, make sure to study the size and fuel source of your previous heater. You don’t want to downgrade to a smaller system, and you want to make sure you have plenty of space for your new appliance. In addition, make sure to replace an electric water heater with an electric model, and a gas heater with a gas model. Also, look for models with a heat pump, which helps with efficiency.

When in doubt, call the plumberWhile some models boast of do-it-yourself capabilities, others require a plumber’s expertise. Plumbers can also provide recommendations for purchasing water heaters and can help ensure you choose a model with the proper connections.

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