Water heaters are responsible for heating your water and supplying it to household fixtures and appliances, such as dishwashers, showers, and more. Every home uses their hot water supply differently, and it’s important to understand the different types of water heaters and features best suited for your household needs.
How to Choose a Water Heater
8 Tips to Consider When Choosing Your Water Heater
1 Know Your Fuel Source:
There are three main water heater fuel sources:
2 Understand the Difference Between Tank Vs. Tankless
Today, you have the option of choosing between a traditional tank water heater, or a smaller, eco-friendly tankless water heater. Use our chart below to learn more about each to help you make an informed decision:
How it functions
Tank-type water heaters are the most common type of water heaters. These units physically store gallons of heated water at a time.
- Economical, generally lower up-front unit cost compared to tankless water heaters
- ENERGY STAR™ certified models available
- Accommodates steady, high-use demands
- Capacity ranges from 2-60 gallons
- Efficiency varies between models and fuel sources
- Select models work with the WINK app to provide you with convenient control of your water heater
How it functions
Tankless water heaters heat your water on demand, but do not store water. The water passes through a series of coils in the unit. Because they don’t store water, they are an environmentally conscious option, and take up much less space.
- Larger up-front investment compared to tank-type
- Provides continuous hot water
- Reduces energy consumption by as much as 30%
- All Rheem gas tankless models are ENERGY STAR™ certified
- Excellent choice for full time applications, and also ideal for residences occupied part-time, such as cottages
- Installed on walls, freeing up floor space
- Environmentally conscious and saves energy costs
3 Consider How Much Hot Water Your Household Needs
It’s important to select a hot water heater that will provide enough hot water for your household’s needs. An undersized water heater will work harder than it needs to, and therefore have a shorter lifespan. Choosing a water heater that caters to your full household capacity can ensure there’s enough hot water for several appliances to run at once.
Tank-type Water Heaters:
The best way to determine your household capacity is through the number of bathrooms and bedrooms in your home. Consult the table below to determine your storage capacity:
|Number of Bathrooms
|Number of Bedrooms||1||2||3||2||3||4||5||3||4||5|
|Minimum Tank Size (gallon)||20||30||40||50||50||50||60||50||60||60|
Tankless Water Heaters:
For tankless water heaters, you can determine your household capacity by calculating how much water you need at any time. Use the chart below to calculate the gallons per minute (GPM) of hot water each of your fixtures and appliances needs, and add up these amounts to get a total GPM for your household. For example, if you typically have one shower running, plus a dishwasher, and a washing machine, you have a flow rate of 3.5 – 7.5 GPM.
|Fixture/Appliance||Typical Water Flow
Once you understand the demands and expectations you have for your tankless water heater, you’ll have a better idea of which one to choose.
4 Consider Your Unit’s Dimensions
Once you know the capacity for your water heater, remember to take the unit’s dimensions into consideration. Here are helpful tips when measuring your water heater:
- The unit should have ½” clearance on the sides, 12” on the front, and 18” off the floor.
- For closets and close quarters: if you are replacing an old unit, keep in mind that newer units may be larger, as more insulation is required to meet the latest strict federal energy standards.
- When purchasing a tankless water heater: ensure the location you choose for installation meets the unit's ventilation requirements. Does it require an exterior wall near a gas supply line, water supply line and/or an electrical power source? Placing your tankless heater near the correct supply lines and power sources can be the easiest and most cost-effective way to run the venting.
5 Have Your Water Heater Installed by Professionals
We highly recommend having your water heater installed by a professional, as it can be a difficult and sometimes dangerous process. The installation of a water heater deals with carbon monoxide, natural gas, and a pressure-controlled holding tank, and Home Depot trained professionals are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge, including codes and safety procedures, to get the job done safely and efficiently. The Home Depot Home Services professionals will remove your old unit and replace it with your new one within the same day.
6 Buying Vs. Renting
Why rent your water heater when you can own?
If you’re still renting your water heater, learn how to achieve valuable savings by purchasing your tank instead. It’s easier than you think, and the benefits will make it worth your while.
Warranty Options‡: Keep your peace of mind with 6-12 year tank and parts warranty options
Flexible: Financing available to fit your budget
Save Money: Receive savings over time when you purchase your tank instead of renting‡‡
‡Limited manufacturer’s warranty. Platinum and Performance warranties include 1‑year in‑house labour. See manufacturer’s website for complete details.
‡‡Prices and charges exclude applicable taxes and are current as of November 2017, and subject to change. Rental charge information based on Ontario market rates and subject to change. Estimated rental charges may vary from $12–$15/month for a standard electric model, $16–$18/month for a standard gas model and $24–$30/month for a Power Vent model. Installation estimates based on $215 for 40 and 50 Gallon Gas models, $265 for 40 and 50 Gallon Electric models, and $500 for PowerVent model. Terms and conditions apply. Visit homedepot.ca/installations for details.
Our Home Services professionals are authorized and insured.
If you call us before noon, we’ll install your hot water tank unit the same day. Results guaranteed.
Or call 1-800-HOMEDEPOT to speak with a Home Services representative.
7 Choose Your Performance & Warranty
8 Maintain Your Water Heater
Maintaining your water heater will not only keep your unit running longer and more efficiently, it will lower your costs down the road. Here are 5 helpful tips for maintaining your water heater:
- Test your Temperature and Pressure relief valve once a year:
Open it up for a couple of seconds and let some water flow out, and then close it. If the relief valve continues to let water out, consult a licensed contractor.
- Insulate your pipes:
Purchase self-stick 3/8-inch thick foam pipe insulation, and ensure it matches your pipe’s diameter. Slide the foam over the hot-and-cold water pipes as far as you can reach. Insulating the cold water pipe prevents condensation in the summer.
- Insulate your heater:
Use a hot water tank insulating blanket, such as an R-4.5 foil-covered bubble wrap, which will help maintain heat and save you energy.
- Set your water heater temperature:
Setting your thermostat at 110°-120°F on a daily basis will supply you with ample hot water for regular usage, while saving you energy.
- Flush your water heater at least once a year to remove sediment.