Hot Water Heater Buying Guide in Houston

The task of having to buy a water heater involves more than walking into a big-box store and selecting the first one that catches your eye. For over 40 years, at Nick’s Plumbing and AC, our business has known the differences between the hundreds of hot water tanks available on the market and what they mean to you, our customers. When you ask us for the best water heater for your home, we can answer you with confidence and knowledge. The following is the hot water heater guide we follow when working with all of our customers in Houston.

Questions To Ask Before You Begin Your Search

Before you start any research for a new hot water heater, you must answer the following questions. These questions will eliminate the guesswork and leave the troubleshooting behind.

  1. Identify your fuel source.
  2. Choose a type of heater.
  3. Determine the capacity.
  4. Measure your space.
  5. Accessories

What Is Your Hot Water Heater Fuel Source?

First and foremost, the most crucial thing to determine is your Houston home’s fuel source.  Do you have electricity, gas, or a mixture of the two?

1. Electric Hot Water Tanks

Electric hot water tanks are the least expensive of all the water heating options available on the market. They use one or two replaceable heating elements to heat water. They are available in a range of sizes from 28 to 100 gallons.

2. Gas or Propane Water Heaters  

Gas or propane water heaters employ a burner to heat water and are available in a size range of 30 to 100 gallons. They tend to be more expensive than electric water heaters yet more energy-efficient at the same time.  

What Type Of Hot Water Heater Do You Want?

When choosing the right type of water heater, consider your household’s size (i.e., family) and the utilities in your Houston neighborhood in order to choose the best water heater.

1. Tank water heater

This is the most common type of water heater in America. These units have an insulated tank where water is heated and stored until it is needed. They’re available in liquid propane, electric, and natural gas models. Natural gas and propane hot water models typically require less energy. They are less expensive to operate than their electric models of the same size. When you buy a water heater, determine its energy efficiency and yearly annual operating costs. This information can be found on the label and online product description.

2. Tankless or on-demand heaters

Tankless water heaters don’t store hot water. Instead, they heat water as it passes through a series of coils in the unit. These types of units only heat water when you need it. Usually, it is more energy-efficient than a traditional storage-tank water heater because it doesn’t have to keep unused water hot. They’re available in electric, liquid propane, and natural gas models. Most tankless units can provide up to 3.5 gallons of heated water per minute. 

What Type Of Water Heater Tank Capacity Do You Need?

Storage tank water heaters are categorized based on the gallons of water they hold. To ensure that your household has enough water, you need to determine how much water the people in your home uses on average. It goes without saying, the more people in your home, the larger the tank you’ll need.

There’s a second consideration to make, which is a hot water heater’s recovery rate. That means the number of gallons of water it can heat in an hour while refilling the tank. The larger the demand for your home’s hot water heater, the higher the recovery rate you’ll need. 

If you plan to use a tank water heater, use the following guidelines to guide you in finding the size you need.

Minimum Gallon Capacity Recommendations

Electric Water Heater:

Family of 1 to 2: 30 gallons

Family of 2 to 3: 40 gallons

Family of 3 to 4: 50 gallons

Family of 5+: 80 gallons

Gas Water Heater:

Family of 1 to 2: 30 gallons

Family of 2 to 3: 40 gallons

Family of 3 to 4: 40 gallons

Family of 5+: 50 Gallons

What Space Do I Need For The Water Heater?

Whether you plan to install your hot water heater in your laundry room, attic, or garage, it’s critical that you measure the anticipated space BEFORE making this large purchase. 

In the event your space won’t accommodate a traditional tank hot-water heater, you do have alternatives. These options provide the same performance level and will work with electric or gas (propane) systems.

  1. Short water heaters or lowboys

The title of these units says it all. They’re shorter and wider than a standard water heater. They hold the same amount of water as their larger counterparts while still fitting in areas with limited headroom, such as crawlspaces and under cabinets. Lowboys vary between 30 to 49 inches and hold up to 50 gallons of water.

2. Tall Water Heaters

Tall water heaters vary in height from 50 to 76 inches and can hold a maximum of 100 gallons of water. They’re ideal for basements where height isn’t a limiting factor. 

Do You Want Accessories?

There are countless accessories available for hot water heaters, for improving everything from safety to increasing your heater’s efficiency.

1. Water leak detectors and alarms

These either sit on the floor or in the pan beside the water heater. If the heater overflows or leaks, the alarm will sense the liquid and sound the alarm, thereby alerting the homeowner. These alarms are even equipped with Wi-Fi, so you can be notified on your phone.

2. Water heater timers

Hot water heater timers are connected to a unit’s electrical supply. They can be set, so the water heater only uses electricity at specified times. You can cut down on energy use and save money by running the water heater only when needed. 

3. Expansion tanks

Hot water heater expansion tanks are plumbed to the water heater. They’re designed to hold the additional water volume that can be produced when cold water is heated in the tank.

4. Water heater stands

A water heater stand raises a gas unit off the ground, thereby reducing fire risk should flammable liquid spills in the vicinity. If you’re in the process of replacing your water heater and adding a stand, it will affect your measurements. That’s why it’s essential to have a professional to install it.

Hot Water Heater Buying Guide And Nick’s Plumbing & AC

Whether it’s your first hot water heater purchase or your fifth, you must do your research beforehand. At Nick’s Plumbing and AC, we have the experience and knowledge to answer all your questions. We look forward to helping you select your next hot water heater. 

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