Gas and Electric Water Heaters
There are two types of conventional water heaters, gas and electric. An electric water heater can be used almost anywhere. A gas water heater is most likely to be installed in a home that already uses gas for another appliance such as a furnace or stove.
It is likely if you are replacing a water heater, you’ll simply replace it with the same type of unit that was already there. However, there are upgrade possibilities that should be considered. For example: if space allows, you may choose to increase the unit’s holding capacity to accommodate your growing family. Another important consideration is the unit’s energy efficiency. Replacement time is the perfect time to lower your energy bill by choosing a water heater that is more energy efficient.
When looking for a water heater, consider these features:
- Gallon capacity (40-gallon and 50-gallon heaters are most common)
- Recovery rate (the number of gallons the heater will heat in an hour)
- Dimensions (width and height — physical space may limit your ability to upgrade your unit’s capacity — will the heater fit in the space you have for it?)
- The energy efficiency rating (a sticker on the side should list the estimated annual cost of operation for the unit)
Before making any repairs or purchasing a new water heater, check the nameplate on the side of your current unit. Here you will find helpful information including the tank capacity, insulation R-value, installation guidelines, working pressure, model and serial number. If you have an electric water heater, the nameplate will also list the wattage capacity and voltage of the heating elements.