Birmingham Home Inspectors Blog

Which Water Heater Should You Choose
November 5th, 2018 9:12 AM

Like many items in the house, water heaters are not designed to last for the life of the house. So inevitably one day everyone’s water heater will need replacement. So, what water heater should you use to replace it? There are many different options today to change the water heater out with. Let’s look at some of the different type of water heaters we commonly see installed during our inspections.

Gas hot water heater: We find this style of hot water heater all day long and this probably makes up the bulk of what we see. One downside to this style is that energy is lost by keeping the water heated in the water heater all day and night. The upside however, is the price of gas is relatively inexpensive so this amounts to little money every month. A common problem people run into when replacing their hot water heater is that there are inevitably issues with the flue pipe or chimney. This can sometimes increase the cost of replacement for a standard gas water heater substantially.

Electric hot water heater: Next to gas water heaters, this is the style we find most commonly installed. These can be very easy to install as there is no flue pipe to deal with. Commonly, when there is a flue pipe issue a solution might be to come back with an electric water heater. While electric water heater are typically more energy efficient, electricity being more expensive than gas causes them to be more expensive to run every month. The recovery time on electric water heater typically lags behind that of gas ones as well.  

Powervent hot water heater: These are gas hot water heaters that essentially utilize a fan to push the hot water heater gases through a plastic flue pipe. The biggest advantage to these guys is the flue pipe does not have to go out through the roof. It can go straight through the side of the house to discharge to the exterior. These can be a great option when trying replace an existing gas water heater that has expensive issues.

Tankless hot water heater: These guys are all the rage these days and capture the most attention from our clients. They are usually gas and are highly efficient. They only heat the water used instead of the older style which constantly heats 40 gallons (or more depending the time you use) thus saving you money. Unfortunately, this water heater can be triple the cost of a traditional water heater installation. Sometimes it can take several minutes for the water to turn hot. The benefit claimed by manufacturers is unlimited hot water. However, there is research questioning how many fixtures can be turned on simultaneously or what temperature you need to have the hot water heater set too, to maintain the designed temperature or the amount of fixtures running.

These are all the different options for some commonly found hot water heaters. There are other styles of course but these are the ones we find the most. As you can tell, it really depends on the installation and house hold for which one would fit you the best.

Posted by Andrew Griffith on November 5th, 2018 9:12 AMPost a Comment

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