hand adjusting water heater dial

3 Things to Consider Before Buying a New Water Heater

Everyone relies on their water heaters for daily necessities, so naturally, once your water heater starts nearing the end of its lifespan, you’ll be eager to replace it. However, before rushing to purchase a new model, there are three key factors that you’ll want to consider carefully: type, capacity, and size.


The two most popular types of water heaters for homes are storage-tank and tankless. Heat pump hybrid water heaters also have their staunch fans due to their energy efficiency.

Storage Tank Water Heaters

People tend to be the most familiar with this type of water heater. It heats water within a tank and keeps the hot water stored there until you need it. For this type of water heater, you will usually pay a higher price upfront for a natural gas model than an electric model. However, gas models tend to be cheaper to operate.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters are rapidly gaining popularity due to their energy efficiency. Their heating coils create hot water on demand, which means that the unit will only heat the precise amount of hot water that you need precisely when you need it. This makes tankless models more efficient than storage tank models. It is important to keep in mind though that a tankless water heater has a limited hot water flow per minute, so some households may require more than one unit to meet their hot water needs.

Heat Pump Hybrid Water Heaters

A heat pump hybrid water heater captures heat from the air to warm up water in a tank, which is what allows it to be an “energy-smart” option. According to Sarah Widder, an expert at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, “Heat pump water heaters can use up to 63% less energy than traditional electric water heaters.” These types of heaters work best in spaces that stay 40 degrees Fahrenheit and above, and the unit will require at least seven feet of floor-to-ceiling clearance.


The type of water heater that’s right for your family has a lot to do with your household water usage. A retired couple typically needs less hot water than a young family with six children. You’ll also want to consider how much hot water you use at the same time for different purposes. For instance, if you’re washing clothes in warm water while someone is taking a shower, you might have a problem if your water heater’s tank is too small or if it’s water flow per minute is too low.


Water heaters are often tucked away in a utility closet. When replacing your water heater, you must consider the size of your current space. In some cases, a new water heater might have the same capacity as your existing one but will be physically larger. It makes no sense to knock down walls and remodel just to accommodate a water heater, so triple-check your measurements!

Do you need help finding the right water heater for your home?

Replacing your current water heater on your own can be a daunting process, especially if you’d like to switch from a storage-tank model to a tankless version. For help with replacing your current water heater, contact our experts at HVAC & Plumbing Unlimited online or by phone at (703) 454-5040.