We'll help you navigate your many options.
Don't wait until your existing water heater fails, or your choices could be limited to whatever is in your plumber's warehouse. The average water heater lasts about 13 years. If yours is older, it's time to think about replacing it.
TIP: No matter how old your water heater is, it's wise to remove any rust or solid particles from its tank bottom, annually. Place a small bucket under its drain, open the drain carefully and slowly drain water until it runs clear. If it's really rusty, replace the heater soon.
Choose Your Fuel and Technology
You'll need to choose between a growing number of options:
Type: Most Louisville homes have stand-by water heaters offering hot water 24/7. Instantaneous models heat only when you turn on the tap; they're more common in Europe.
Fuel: Most homes use natural gas or propane. Electric water heaters are an option, too.
Technology: The least-cost and most-efficient option is a hybrid model, using an electric-powered heat pump (plus electric coils for back-up if more hot water is needed than it stored). Gas-fired models are much more cost effective than traditional electric stand-by models. A solar water heater may be an option, too, but a hybrid electric water heater and solar panels is usually more cost effective.
TIP: Visit these web sites for more detailed information:
SmarterHouse.org offers guidance on replacing your water heater and tips for operating your water heater more efficiently and cost effectively. For example, if your water heater is on the opposite side of the house as your kitchen and bathrooms, look for space to move the new heater closer to them.
Enervee.com provides efficiency and cost information on numerous models currently on the market.
Decide the Size You Need
If you buy a larger water heater than you need, you'll waste money and energy. If you buy too small, you'll run out of hot water. Use this worksheet to determine your needs.
TIP: Spreading your hot water use throughout your day lets you to meet your needs with a smaller water heater, and lower your utility bills. For example, if your family showers in the morning, washes dishes in the evening and launders clothes on weekends, you'll need a smaller tank than if you usually do all three activities at the same time.