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What's the Best Kind of Water Heater?

What's the Best Kind of Water Heater?

We know that at Gibson's Heating & Plumbing, Inc., that choosing the right kind of water heater can be difficult. Do i want an electric tank water heater, gas tank water heater, electric pump water heater or a tankless water heater? Today, we'll be discussing the advantages and disadvantages of each one of these water heaters to help you make a more informed decision on which type of water heater would work best for you and your household.

Electric Tank Water Heater

In short, an electric water heater, heats and stores water using electricity

The initial purchase cost and installation of an electric water heater is usually lower and the fact that their are many different size models that means that they are easily accessible for large or small households. While the initial upfront cost may be less expensive, operating these types of water heaters can tend to be more expensive.

  • Purchase Cost (less installation): $300 - $1,200
  • Advantages: Lowest upfront cost, Good for small or large households
  • Disadvantages: More expensive to operate

Gas Tank Water Heaters

Heats and stores water using natural gas or propane

With gas tank water heaters, these models tend to pay for themselves in energy savings after a year or so and are able to heat much more hot water an hour than their electrical counterparts. In addition, gas water heaters will continue to heat water even in a power outage. But, gas tank water heaters you need to install extra piping for the gas exhaust.

  • Purchase cost (less installation): $380 to $1,500
  • Advantages: Lowest upfront cost, Good for small or large households
  • Disadvantages: More expensive to operate

Tankless Gas Water Heater

Heats water on demand when its needed.

As you may have guessed a tankless gas water heater has no storage tank. But, in it's place are super-heated coils that will instantly heat the water as your need it. This is also known as, "on demand water heating." This type of water heater is great if you have a large family and need a lot of hot water all at once. But, larger tankless water heaters run on electricity and that can be a bit more costly.

  • Purchase cost (less installation): $1000+
  • Advantages: Good for smaller households, lower operating cost, small footprint
  • Disadvantages: More expensive to operate

Electric Heat Pump Water Heater

Uses electricity to move heat from one place to another

A heat pump water heater is unique as it uses the heat in the air and in the ground to heat the water. This means that your electricity is only used to move heat from the ground or air to heat up the water instead of the electricity being used to generate the heat. But, be careful, sometimes your water heater may need up to eight feet of vertical clearance.

  • Purchase cost (less installation): $1,000+
  • Advantages: 2-3 times more efficient than conventional tank water heater.
  • Disadvantages: Not a good option for colder climates

Condensing Gas Water Heaters

Heats and stores the water using gas, then uses the combustion gas to further heat the water.

This option is best for family's that primarily use natural gas as their energy source. This type of unit will funnel in exhaust from the natural gas system and use that to heat the water, which is held in a conventional storage tank. Typically, these types of water heaters aren't created for smaller households and are intended for people who use over 55 gallons of hot water.

  • Purchase cost (less installation): $1,000+
  • Advantages: Lowest operating cost. Can save a household $100+ a year
  • Disadvantages: Higher up-front cost

Hybrid Tankless Water Heater

Combines the advantages of a small storage tank with a tankless water heater.
  • Purchase cost (less installation): $1,000+
  • Advantages: Lower operating cost. Less standby heat loss than a conventional tank water heater, and no "cold water sandwich" that can occur with tankless water heaters.
  • Disadvantages: Higher up-front cost
Need help choosing the best water heater for your needs? Call Gibson's Heating and Plumbing. We can help.
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