Factors to Consider When Installing a Water Heater

Installing a water heater is an important investment that requires careful consideration. A water heater is a must-have appliance in any home or business, providing hot water for showering, cooking, and cleaning. With so many different types of water heaters available, it’s important to know which one is best for your needs. In this article, we’ll explore the various factors to consider when installing a water heater, including the size of the unit, energy efficiency, installation requirements, and more.

Types of Water Heaters

The first step in selecting a water heater is to understand the different types available. The two most common types are tankless and traditional tank models.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters are becoming increasingly popular due to their energy efficiency and convenience. They heat water on demand, so there’s no need to store hot water in a tank. Tankless models are also more compact than traditional tanks, making them a good choice for small homes or apartments.

However, there are some downsides to tankless water heaters. They can be more expensive to install than traditional tanks, and they may not be able to keep up with high hot water demand in larger households.

Traditional Tank Water Heaters

Traditional tank water heaters store hot water in a tank and heat it continuously to maintain the desired temperature. They are generally less expensive to install than tankless models and can handle higher hot water demand. However, they are also less energy-efficient due to the constant heating of water in the tank.

Factors to Consider Before Buying a Water Heater

Once you understand the different types of water heaters available, there are several factors to consider before making a purchase.

Size of the Water Heater

The size of the water heater you need depends on several factors, including the number of people in your household and your hot water usage habits. A general rule of thumb is to choose a water heater with a capacity of 10-15 gallons per person in the household.

It’s also important to consider the physical size of the water heater. Traditional tank models can take up a lot of space, while tankless models are more compact and can be mounted on a wall.

Fuel Type

Water heaters can be powered by various fuel types, including electricity, natural gas, propane, and oil. The fuel type you choose will depend on availability, cost, and environmental impact. Electric water heaters are generally the most expensive to operate, while natural gas and propane models are more energy-efficient.

Energy Efficiency

Choosing an energy-efficient water heater can help you save money on your utility bills over time. Look for models with the ENERGY STAR label, which indicates that they meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Installation Location

The location of your water heater can impact its performance and safety. Traditional tank models should be installed in a well-ventilated area with easy access for maintenance. Tankless models can be installed in various locations, including closets, attics, or even outside.

Cost of the Water Heater and Installation

The cost of the water heater and installation can vary depending on the type of unit you choose and the complexity of the installation. Traditional tank models are generally less expensive to install than tankless models, but they may be more expensive to operate over time.

Maintenance Requirements

Proper maintenance is essential to ensure that your water heater operates efficiently and safely. Tankless models require less maintenance than traditional tank models, but both types require periodic flushing to remove sediment buildup.

It’s also important to have your water heater inspected annually by a licensed contractor to check for leaks, corrosion, and other potential issues.

Choosing a Reputable Contractor for Installation

Installing a water heater is a complex task that should be left to a licensed professional. When choosing a contractor, look for one with experience installing the type of water heater you’ve chosen.

Ask for references and check online reviews to ensure that the contractor has a good reputation. Be wary of contractors who offer significantly lower prices than others, as this could be a sign of poor quality workmanship or subpar materials.


Installing a water heater is an important investment that requires careful consideration. By understanding the different types of water heaters available and the various factors to consider before making a purchase, you can choose a system that meets your needs and budget.

Remember to prioritize energy efficiency, choose the right size and fuel type, and hire a reputable contractor for installation to ensure that your water heater is safe and performs well for years to come.

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