How To Select

Selecting A Water Heater

Purchasing a water heater is something most people do not do very often. The process of shopping for a water heater can be overwhelming. Most people figure the easiest thing to do is to replace an old outdated water heater with the same or similar model. Likely it has been many years since your current water heater was installed. Over the last few years water heater technology has made many advancements in performance and efficiency.

As your water heater and other major appliances become worn out it is best to replace them with “Energy Star”, rated models. The higher the EF rating, the higher the energy savings an appliance offers. With the utility rates costing more than ever, it’s a smart choice to go with “Energy Star” appliances.

We encourage you to take the time to find the best hot water solution for your family and current needs by using our easy guide below.

Ask yourself these 8 questions

  1. Is my existing water heater a gas or electric model?
  2. How many bathrooms with shower heads do I have?
  3. How large is my family now and is my family growing?
  4. Where is my water heater located and what size will fit?
  5. What are my up front costs for an Energy Star water heater?
  6. How long will it take to re-coup my up-front cost for an Energy Star model?
  7. How long will my family be living in this home?
  8. Are there any Federal, State, or Utility company rebate programs available?
  9. Simply call us at 916-344-4500 and we will come to your home & give you a worry free written quote.

What is (EF) Energy Factor

If a water heater has a .94 EF, that means 94% of energy is converted to hot water.
In order to effectively reduce home appliance energy use, conserve more natural resources and generate significant energy cost savings for homeowners, NAECA periodically requires higher energy efficiencies-as measured by Energy Factor or EF ratings-on almost all residential gas, electric, oil and tankless gas water heaters.

Most homes currently have a traditional tank-type water heater installed. Today’s marketplace has changed offering more efficient ways to heat water for your home. This is a great time to consider an alternative to a traditional tank-type water heater.

TRADITIONAL GAS Tank-Type EF .63

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ENERGY STAR GAS Tank-Type EF .68

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TANKLESS GAS EF .98

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HYBRID ELECTRIC (heat-pump) EF 3.39

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LOWEST REPLACEMENT COST

America has a long history of traditional tank-type water heaters as a reliable water heating solution. Traditional tank-type units store hot water 24 hours a day in an insulated tank until needed at temperatures around 125 degrees, this can add up to a lot of wasted energy. Keep in mind a new traditional heater is now made 1″- 2″ wider and taller, it may not fit in some water heater closets. You may need to enlarge the closet or relocate, if this is the case consider a tankless unit.

Example, average complete cost as follows:

AO Smith GUR-40 gal. gas, installed $1097
Expansion tank installation $ 169
Local tax 8% $ 101
Permit & service fee $ 190
TOTAL EXPECTED COST $ 1557

Energy Star rated water heaters are more efficient than traditional tank-type water heaters, they usually have a power damper or power vent and are above EF .67 which makes them eligible for utility company rebate programs. On average an energy star gas rated water heater can save you 20% – 50% of fuel cost.

Example, average complete cost as follows:

AO Smith GAHH-40 gal. gas, installed $1865
Expansion tank installation $ 169
Local tax 8% $ 162
Permit service & fees $ 190
TOTAL EXPECTED COST $ 2386

Tankless water heaters, provide hot water only when it is needed (On-Demand), and do not store hot water. You can enjoy a continuous supply of hot water that never runs out. This saves energy which saves you money. Tankless units have been the standard in Europe and Asia for over 35 years, America is slowly catching up. Most quality tankless water heaters have a 35+ year life expectancy.

Example, average complete cost as follows:

Noritz tankless EZTR40 gas, installed $2497
Expansion tank installation $ 169
Local tax 8% $ 213
Permit service & fees $ 190
TOTAL EXPECTED COST $2879

High efficiency electric tank-type units are more efficient at heating water and keeping it hot. This means a lower annual operating cost and more available hot water. Heat pump (hybrid) water heaters have the highest EF (energy factor) rating of any water heater available today. Most hybrid units can save an average of 80% in energy, making them the number one choice in “Green Technology”.

Example, average complete cost as follows:

AO Smith SHPT-50 220V $2400
Expansion tank installation $ 169
Local tax 8% $ 206
Permit service & fees $ 190
TOTAL GROSS COST $2965
LESS SMUD REBATE -$1000
TOTAL NET EXPECTED COST $1965

Water Heater Buying Guide

Before you shell out hundreds of dollars to replace your current storage tank-type water heater or even more money for a tankless, hybrid or solar unit check see whether your old water heater can be fixed. If it is newer than 8 years old, it may more cost efficient to repair the unit. A leaky or corroded tank is not repairable and must be replaced. But a leaky drain or pressure-relief valve or a burned-out electric heating element can often be fixed.

Traditional (tank-type) water heaters should always be replace if over 12 years old.

Rule of Thumb:
Consider a repair if the labor cost (which warranties often exclude) averages less than $50 per year over the years left in the warranty. Otherwise, buy a new one, especially if the warranty has run out.

Traditional (tank-type):
Look alike on the outside. But sawing open a cross-section of a gas and electric models in a lab confirmed that paying a little more typically buys a better water heater. Those with longer warranties tended to have larger heating elements on the electric models and thicker insulation, and thicker and longer corrosion-fighting anode rods.

Tankless:
Models usually have 12 to 15 year warranties indicating a better quality product. With proper servicing most tankless units may last up to 30-years. Some tankless manufacturers shorten the warranty for units used in hard water areas and in multifamily homes. And most recommend service every three to four years by a qualified water heater technician.

Hybrid:
Blend an electric storage tank-type water heater with a top mounted heat-pump that captures warmth from the air around it. Those we have installed and tested provide an annual savings of about 60% – 70% over electric only models. Utility companies love Hybrid units and often offer great rebate incentives as much as $1000 cash back, if you have an electric unit, consider replacing it with a money saving Hybrid (heat-pump) unit.

Sizing Engine