Choosing the Right Water Heater

Purified Water

California homeowners have many reasons to look for a new water heater, whether they’re building a new home or ensuring their current home stays comfortable. A remodel can be a great time to replace an aging water heater, or a growing family may find that they’ve outgrown a smaller model. Finding the right water heater is challenging, but it’s easier when you know what to look for, and the logic that underpins certain choices. Contact Ace Plumbing has some advice drawn from our many years serving homeowners in Sacramento, Lincoln, and Davis.

When to replace

Some water heater issues can be addressed with a tune-up or repair. But if maintenance isn’t solving the problem, or if new ones crop up in its place, it’s probably time to consider replacement. Before we explore your different options for a new water heater, let’s revisit some of the reasons you might be (or should be) looking at a replacement now.

  • Discolored water is a sign that metal components in your water heater is beginning to rust
  • Odd smells can result from the presence of bacteria or a mineral buildup
  • Odd noises may be caused by mineral deposits or other blockages
  • Water that isn’t as hot as it should be can be a sign of a failed thermostat or other problems
  • Climbing energy bills often accompany a water heater that’s on its last legs
  • If you find you’re having your water heater repaired more often than usual, a replacement can work out cheaper in the long run
  • An older water heater won’t be as efficient as a newer model, so it’s a good idea to replace if it’s eight years old or older

Types of Water Heaters

There are more kinds of water heaters than the average person probably realizes. Let’s take a moment to run down the most common.

Storage Tank Water Heater

This is the oldest and most common design of water heater. Using an electric element or a gas flame, it holds and heats between 20 and 100 gallons of water. That storage capacity has its advantages and disadvantages. The upshot is that it’s ideal for high-demand environments, but this comes at the expense of efficiency because more energy is required to maintain the temperature of a high volume of water.

Hybrid Water Heater

Hybrid water heaters look like traditional storage tank water heaters, but there’s a key difference in how they work. They heat the water by means of an electric element supplemented by a heat pump that extracts heat from the air, similar to what you’d find on an air conditioning unit. These are more expensive up-front than traditional water heaters, but they also heat faster and can be a bit more efficient.

Tankless Water Heaters

Sometimes called tankless water heaters, on-demand water heaters heat water as it’s used instead of storing it. Because of their lower flow rate, they may not be practical for homes with high hot water use (say, two people taking showers, or running the dishwasher and washing machine at the same time), though they can be supplemented by another type of on-demand heater, known as a point of use water heater.

Energy Star Rebates

Energy Star ratings were developed by the EPA to encourage the development and use of energy-efficient appliances. An Energy Star rated water heater may qualify California energy efficiency rebates. The rebate defrays your up-front cost, and the energy efficiency leads to long-term savings, which is quite a win-win scenario.

Next Steps

So, in summary: figure out whether you need a new water heater. Determine your usage patterns, since that will help you choose the right size water heater. Calculate your budget and available rebates. Then, call Ace Plumbing for expert water heater service, including repairs and installation!