Storage/electric resistance water heaters
The most commonly used model, the storage/electric resistance water heater works by heating water and storing it in an insulated tank. It’s inexpensive, easy to install, and can have an energy factor of more than 90 percent.
Heat pump water heaters
These use electricity to move heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly. Got a non-air-conditioned basement? This would be a great option, because this model dehumidifies air as it works.
Tankless water heaters
These point-of-use heaters operate without a tank and heat water instantaneously. Though more expensive to install, they may save money over time.
Solar water heaters
Looking for a more eco-friendly option? These conventional water heaters are powered by solar panels.
Attached to a geothermal heat pump, desuperheaters catch waste heat and use it to warm your water. In hot climates, these can meet most of your home’s needs in summer months.
Know before you buy.
Look for the First Hour Rating (FHR) indicated on the label of the heater. This is more important than the size of the tank because it tells you how well the system will perform under pressure during morning or evening use.
- If you live in a moderate climate, consider an efficient heat pump water heater. It may have a higher initial cost, but can save up to 50% on your energy bill.
- Look for units with sealed combustion when buying gas- or oil-fired units to avoid back drafting into your home.
- Choose the water heater with the highest energy factor (EF). EF is based on recovery efficiency, standby losses and cycling losses.
- Compare warranties to make sure you’re getting the most for your money.