Choosing the Right Water Heater for Your Home: A Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide

Boiler,room, ,gas,heating,system,,3d,illustrationChoosing the Right Water Heater for Your Home: A Comprehensive Buyer’s Guide

When it comes to choosing a water heater for your home, there are a lot of options to consider. From tankless to storage tank, natural gas to electric, the choices can seem overwhelming. However, with a bit of research and understanding of your household’s needs, you can select the right water heater for your home. In this comprehensive buyer’s guide, we will cover the main types of water heaters, factors to consider when selecting a unit, and key features to look for in a water heater.

Types of Water Heaters

The first step in selecting a water heater is deciding which type is best for your home. The most common types of water heaters are:

1. Storage Tank

A storage tank water heater holds a certain amount of hot water in a tank. They are the most common type of water heater, as they can store and heat large volumes of hot water, making them ideal for large households.

2. Tankless

A tankless water heater heats the water as it passes through the unit via coils. Unlike storage tank water heaters, tankless water heaters do not store hot water, which makes them more energy-efficient. They are great for smaller households, and their compact size allows for installation in tight spaces.

3. Heat Pump

A heat pump water heater uses electricity to move heat from the air or ground outside into the water heater. They can be up to three times more efficient than traditional electric models. A heat pump water heater is ideal if you want to minimize your carbon footprint and save money.

4. Solar

A solar water heater uses solar energy to heat water, which is a great way to save money on energy costs. However, this type of system may not be practical for all households or climates.

Factors to Consider When Selecting a Water Heater

Once you’ve determined the type of water heater that is best suited for your household, there are several additional factors to consider. These include:

1. Size

The size of your water heater should be proportional to the size of your household and daily hot water usage. A family of four will use more hot water than a single occupant household, and so the size of the water heater should reflect this. A general rule of thumb is to have a storage tank that can hold between 40-50 gallons or a tankless water heater with a flow rate that meets your household’s needs.

2. Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is an important factor to consider when selecting a water heater. The more energy-efficient your unit, the more money you’ll save on energy bills in the long run. Check for the Energy Star label on the unit, as these models are certified to be more energy-efficient.

3. Operating Costs

Operating costs are essential when it comes to selecting a water heater. Consider the type of fuel your water heater requires and the associated costs. For instance, natural gas is generally less expensive than propane or electricity.

4. Maintenance Requirements

Different types of water heaters may have different maintenance requirements, so it’s worth considering this factor before making a purchase. For example, tankless water heaters require annual maintenance to keep the unit running optimally.

Key Features to Look for in a Water Heater

Now that you’ve determined the type of water heater that is best for your household, there are some key features to consider. These features are essential to ensuring your water heater meets your household’s needs and operates effectively.

1. Recovery Rate

Recovery rate refers to the amount of time it takes for the water heater to heat up a tank of water. This rate may vary depending on the type of water heater you choose. A higher recovery rate is ideal for larger households with high hot water usage.

2. Warranty

A warranty is essential when it comes to protecting your investment in a water heater. Look for a unit with a warranty that covers the tank, parts, and labor for a reasonable amount of time.

3. Temperature Control

Most modern water heaters come with temperature control features, allowing you to adjust the temperature of the water. This feature is ideal for households with individuals who prefer different temperatures.

4. Safety Features

Safety features are essential when selecting a water heater. Look for units with features like automatic shut-off valves, pressure relief valves, and carbon monoxide detectors.

5. Price

Of course, price is an essential factor when it comes to selecting a water heater. Consider the upfront cost of the unit and the long-term savings the unit will provide in terms of energy efficiency and operating costs.


Selecting the right water heater for your home can seem overwhelming, but with a bit of research, you can choose the best unit for your household’s needs. Consider your household’s size and usage, energy efficiency, operating costs, maintenance requirements, and essential features like recovery rate, warranty, temperature control, safety features, and price. Armed with these factors, you’ll be able to make an informed decision and select the right water heater for your home.

Got questions about what water heater is best for your home? Be sure to contact our team of professional HVAC contractors here at Rapids Plumbing & Heating, Inc. to learn more about what we can do for you!