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When you are considering purchasing a new appliance, such as a water heater for your home, you need to evaluate what your specific needs are as a household. IF you live with one other adult, for example, then you likely don’t need a 40 gallon water heater. When folks ask, “What size water heater do I need?” We often ask them to make their own computation. You need to determine how many showers are taken per day, how many loads of wash per average day, etc. This ratio is a good rule of thumb, but if you already know you are on the “greater than average use” side of the spectrum, then you should go ahead and size up:

1-2 — 30-gallon water heater
2-3 — 40-gallon water heater
3-4 — 40-50 gallon water heater
5+ — 50-80 gallon water heater

Many new home builders are simply putting in two water heaters at once and connecting them to make sure there isn’t ever a hot water shortage. This likely not needed in a pre-existing home, but if you have space and don’t mind doubling your initial (and continuing energy) expense, then by all means — purchase whatever you feel you may need. You should be able to get a good idea of the energy cost by reading that yellow sticker on the side of the unit — consumers can read the scale that shows how the equipment performs relative to others on the market and even see what the average cost of operating the unit will be on a yearly basis. Energy star rated equipment is worth the money when you consider the long-term cost of operation.

“Where should I place my water heater?”, “where can I buy a water heater”, and “what is the best brand of water heater?”  We get these questions all the time.
As to where you should buy your water heater and what brand is the right choice — this is where you as the consumer must do your own work. You can scour websites and subscribe to consumer information services. You can compare units at the big box stores. You can read through the reviews and try and discern what comments are authentic, which are rants beyond the manufacturer’s control, etc. But we would like to suggest another option: why not ask your trusted plumber what sort of unit he/she would put in their own home?

A good plumber deals with good and bad equipment everyday. You might be surprised to find out that they have an opinion! They often source water-heaters, and can give you a fair price. It would likely save you time and confusion. Plumbers know what units are compatible with your storage space and existing piping. It would be a worth a conversation to find out their thoughts.

Which water heater is best? Well, it depends. Read reviews online and then ask your plumber. The best water heater is the one that works every time and doesn’t leak. Most all water heaters last around 10-12 years and few manufacturers will warranty those units for longer than that.

Keep in mind that you need to be aware of two things when considering a unit with a warranty: is the equipment the only thing warrantied, or is the service warrantied as well? Some plumbers will warranty both. It is worth asking the question.

Many people ask where a water heater should be placed and when should a water heater be replaced? Again, these are excellent questions. Garages and attics are the most likely water heater placement. Garages are probably preferable to the attic in the event that a unit fails. See …years of corrosion and mineral deposits collect in your water heater. The manufacturers often encourage homeowners to flush their tanks from time to time, but few of us dedicate the time and energy needed for this sort of routine maintenance. That said, the ideal time to replace a water heater is the day before it fails. Wouldn’t it be nice to get a text update on your phone: Alert! Water heater fails at 10:30 tomorrow morning! Perhaps in the coming years, that might be a possibility — but that technology doesn’t currently exist.

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