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Here’s How to Choose the Right Water Heater

Looking for a new water heater?

Weigh your options when it comes to this home and cottage essential. Water heaters supply sinks, showers, dishwashers, washing machines and more with hot water. There are different types of water heaters, each with various features to help meet your household’s hot water demand, space, budget and energy-efficiency goals. Here’s what you need to know before you buy.

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Storage tank water heater

Tankless water heater

Fuel Types

When replacing a hot water heater, it’s easiest to choose one that runs on the same type of fuel. The three main sources of water heater fuel are electric, natural gas and propane. Here’s what you need to know about each. All are available in both storage tank and tankless models.

Electric water heater

Natural gas water heaters

Propane water heater

Buying Considerations & Features

Warm up to the right water heater for your household’s hot water needs. Factor in these buying considerations and features to ensure you’re never caught cold mid-shower.

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First-Hour Rating (FHR)

This measurement indicates the number of gallons a storage tank water heater can deliver in one hour, starting with a full tank. Multiply your household members by 12 to get the FHR you need.

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Flow Rate

A tankless unit’s capability is determined by flow rate, as expressed in gallons per minute (GPM). Assess your needs by combining the GPM of hot water that each of your fixtures and appliances use. For example, running a shower with 2.0 GPM and dishwasher with 2.5 GPM requires a flow rate of 4.5 GPM.

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Unit Size

A storage tank water heater takes up valuable space (although there are also space-saving models). A tankless water heater is the most compact option for small spaces, such as cottages, offices and mobile homes.

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Energy Factor

Look for the Energy Factor (EF) rating on the unit’s EnerGuide label. Efficiency is determined by a water heater’s energy factor. The higher the EF, the more efficient the water heater.

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A storage tank heater can store anywhere from 2 to 60+ gallons. Base your tank size on the number of people in your household and appliances used.

Glass-lined Tank

Glass-lined Tank

A glass-lined tank is designed to reduce corrosion inside the water storage tank, extending the life of your water heater.

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