Hot water heater types: which should you buy?

You need a new hot water heater in your home. After years of great service from your older one, it’s time to make an upgrade. But, there’s a lot of different water heaters on the market. Not just makes and models, but in terms of hot water heater types. Gas, electric, tankless, solar: what do all these terms mean, and what are the real advantages and disadvantages of each?

In our latest blog post, we’ll run through these hot water heater types and explore what makes each of them different.

Standard Water Heater - Hot Water Heater Types

The bottom of a standard hot water heater.

Standard water heaters

These are, by far, the most common type of water heater in American homes. They have a familiar tank, and are usually placed in the garage or in a laundry room. These systems heat water and then store it in the tank until it’s called out by a faucet or drain in the home. These system regulate the temperature and pressure of the water inside. Compared to tankless water heaters or other models, these are, by far, the least expensive option for most homes.

Standard water heaters do have their downsides, however. Since they heat and store a certain amount of water, they can run out of it, especially during high-demand periods. For example, a family of four that gets ready in the morning for school and work may find that the last person to take a shower “runs out” of hot water. In addition, standard water heaters only last between 10-12 years, and they run the risk—especially near the end of their life—of bursting their tank and causing flooding.

Despite these downsides, standard water heaters remain an affordable way for most families to get hot water in their home. There are two kinds of standard water heaters: gas and electric.

Hot water heater types

The most standard hot water heater setup.

Gas water heaters

The first thing to note, of course, is that your home needs to have both natural gas available and a hookup for a gas water heater. Without either of those things, you’ll want to get an electric water heater.

However, if your home is wired for natural gas, these type of water heaters are probably your best bet. While, on average, they’re a bit more expensive than their electric siblings, standard gas water heaters are more energy efficient. Over the course of years, those savings will likely add up to more than make up the difference in cost.

Electric water heaters

If you don’t have gas connections, you will have to get an electric water heater of some kind. A standard electric water heater uses more energy than gas units or tankless systems, but is the least expensive option.

An additional downside of an electric water heater? If the power goes out at your home, you’ll no longer have access to hot water.

Tankless water heaters

As their name heavily implies, tankless water heaters do not have tanks like standard water heaters. Nor do they hold water. Instead, they pass water through the system, heating it as needed.

This gives them multiple advantages over standard water heaters. First, tankless water heaters can supply an “unlimited” amount of hot water to your home. Since the system is just heating water as it passes through, it’s not limited to what water has been pre-heated in a tank. For larger families with hectic morning schedules, this can make all the difference.

Tankless systems are more energy-efficient than their standard peers—in fact, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that tankless water heaters use 24-34% less energy than a normal, tanked system. For families that use a lot of hot water, those savings can really add up each year. One final advantage of a tankless water heater? They can least between 15-20 years, sometimes doubling the lifespan of a standard system.

Types of hot water heaters - Tankless

Tankless hot water heaters are often wall-mounted, saving you space, as well.

Tankless systems do have a few downsides. The other side of being able to supply limitless hot water is that the amount supplied cannot exceed the amount that can be pushed through the system. So, for example, attempting to run the dishwasher, laundry, and the shower all at the same time will probably exceed the capacity of the tankless system. The other downside, as we’ve alluded to, is the cost. Tankless systems can cost far more than standard water heaters. In many instances, the energy savings from a tankless system can exceed the cost of the system, but only over the total 20-year lifetime. In other words, you won’t see your return on investment for two decades after your purchase.

Other hot water heater types

Other, less common hot water heater types include solar water heaters and condensing water heaters. For more on these systems, be sure to look through this buying guide from Consumer Reports.

What hot water heater types are best for your home?

Every home is different, and every family has different hot water needs. Water heaters are not always a one-size-fits-all purchase. That’s why we recommend that you give our team a call. We’re a trusted hot water heater installer serving Buffalo and Western New York. Our state-certified plumbers and technicians can help you and your family find the right water heater for your home. Give us a call today at (716) 694-8524, or contact us online.

What is the best time to get a furnace checkup?

Pumpkin spice lattes are coming back into style. Children are back in school, and stores are beginning to carry Halloween decorations and candy. Here in Buffalo, the days of summer are quickly coming to an end as fall enters full swing. Cooler nights are on the way, and your home has to be ready. There’s no better time for a furnace tune-up than right now, before you turn on your furnace for the season.

In this blog post, we’ll review the benefits of scheduling a furnace tune-up with Reimer, as well as what makes the early fall months the ideal time for a professional heating system inspection.

Furnace CheckupWhy should I get a furnace checkup?

In one of our previous blog posts, we talked about the benefits of a seasonal air conditioning tune-up. In fact, many of these benefits are the same for a furnace checkup, including:

  • Increased energy efficiency: A furnace tune-up will make your system more efficient, which could result in significant savings over the entirety of the winter season.
  • Longer system lifespan: Regular maintenance can help your furnace live a longer life, delaying the need for replacement.
  • Less risk of system breakdown: Nobody wants their furnace breaking down in the middle of the night. An annual checkup from a licensed professional can help your furnace make it through the season.
  • Better heating performance: Why even have a furnace if it’s not going to heat your home the way you prefer? A furnace tune-up can remove spotty heating and other performance problems.
  • Warranty maintenance: Many furnace manufacturers offer warranties on their products that come with a small catch: to keep the warranty from year-to-year, you need to schedule annual maintenance from a professional.

What’s the best time for a tune-up?

We recommend that you get your furnace tuned up before the first cold nights of late autumn and winter, when you need to turn your furnace on for the first time in the season. Having a professional technician inspect your system before you turn on your furnace gives them a chance to find anything that’s broken before the situation gets worse.

Furnace Tune-UpPlus, having your furnace inspected before the arrival of the year’s coldest months maximizes your energy savings. An unmaintained furnace burns more energy and pushes your gas or electric bill higher and higher. By having an experienced technician from Reimer inspect your system before you begin using it, you get the best return on your energy investment. That’s more money that stays in your pocket.

However, the question of timing is somewhat of a trick question. There’s no bad time for a furnace checkup. Generally, you should have your furnace inspected by a professional at least once-a-year, but if that inspection happens in the middle of winter or the middle of summer, it’s better than not having your heating system maintained at all.

Why should I choose Reimer for my furnace checkup?

Since 1921, Reimer has been helping generations of Buffalo families with their heating and cooling needs. We’re proud to be a trusted source for HVAC advice, services, and products. Our technicians are not only industry-certified, but have years of experience repairing and maintaining furnaces. If you want to get your heating system ready for the cold winter ahead, trust the Reimer team.

Our technicians have worked with almost every kind of furnace there is, and can maintain any make or model. We work with furnaces, boilers, and heaters. Our team is available 24/7 for repairs and maintenance, and Reimer backs the work our technicians do with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Ready to have your furnace tuned up? Schedule service with us online or give us a call at 716-694-8524.