Top 10 Best Water Heater Gas Reviewed In 2017
Tankless gas water heaters last longer than tanked heaters, provide hot water whenever you want it, for as long as you want it, and will save you a nice chunk of change every month. Most reviewers report 30-40% reductions in their gas bills! These devices are a worthwhile investment based on their convenience alone. Their financial savings and environmental friendliness only sweeten the bargain!
Compared to electric models, gas-powered units have better cold-weather performance and average lower fuel costs over time. They’re also more reliable over the long term.
To get the full range of benefits, it’s super important to select the right water heater for your household’s specific needs. The range of options on the market is vast and it’s all too easy to get an inadequate unit for your needs, or to overpay for one you won’t fully make use of. This equipment can be costly, especially because gas units require you to install proper ventilation ports and fuel hookups. This guide will help you get it right the first time.
We’ve got the know-how, and have come up with a list of high-quality options available today. We’ve sorted them into easy categories: top sellers, highest overall quality, and the best value buys.
№1 – Takagi TH3DV TH3 Series 199000 BTU
The Takagi TH3DV TH3 is a compact, lightweight direct vent system that can be installed in tight spaces without giving the homeowner combustion worries. It is easily controlled by a self-diagnostic system and controller making it easy to manage. The system is 95 percent energy efficient with a flow rate of 10GPM making it a good fit for a three or four bathrooms house. It requires up to 199000 BTUs gas input and comes accompanied by all systems needed to install.
№2 – Eccotemp FVI-12-LP High Capacity
Created for small to medium hot water production, the Ecotemp FVI-12-LP comes with a maximum flow of 4.8GPM and offers a minimum of 45 degrees Fahrenheit and a maximum of 77 degrees Fahrenheit. The unit is offered with a max gas rate of 74,500BTUs and an energy factor of 78 percent. The system comes with a digital temperature control unit that features independent water and gas controls.
№3 – Eccotemp FVI-12-NG High Capacity
The Ecotemp FVI-12-NG is a budget gas water heater; there are reconditioned gas water heaters available in the market making it even cheaper. It is ideal for a small family (one or two bathrooms) or vacation cabins. The unit features a stainless steel horizontal vent making it easy to install. It features a maximum flow capacity of 4GPM with up to 74,000BTUs gas rate input. The unit has a digital temperature control unit and has an energy efficiency of up to 79 percent.
№4 – Marey Power Gas 10L Digital Panel Tankless Water Heater
Marey is one of the major gas water heater manufacturers that have leveraged energy efficiency to create great water heaters. The Marey Power is a compact gas water heater that outputs 3.1GPM; making it ideal for a one or two bathroom family. This system features a digital temperature control, operates with two D-size cell batteries thereby saving electricity power. It is available in natural gas and LP models.
№5 – Rinnai RL75iN Natural Gas Tankless Water Heater
Rinnai RL75iN was created for families with two or three bathrooms. This unit requires a gas rate input of between 10,300 and 180,000 BTU’s with a digital controller that features an error code indicator. These features make the unit easy to manage. With 82 percent thermal efficiency this unit was created for those intending to save energy. The unit produces 7.5 GPM and is offered with a residential temperature range between 98 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit and commercial settings between 98 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
№6 – Marey Power Gas 10L Tankless Water Heater
The compact design of the Marey Power makes it easy to install and saves on space. It is a 10L, 3.1GPM that was created for small families. This system does not require electricity at all and it uses 2 D-size cell battery and uses gas to heat flowing water. It is created environmentally friendly and saves up to 60 percent electricity power. Like other heaters in its category, the Marey Power used condensed propane to save on gas usage.
№7 – Rinnai RUC98iN Ultra Series Natural Gas Tankless Water Heater
Rinnai uses natural gas condensation technology to offer more energy efficiency. This unit uses propane gas and is designed for indoor use. The system is offered with 95 percent thermal efficiency and residential temperature settings between 98 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit and commercial temperature settings of between 98 and 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Unfortunately, the temperature control unit has to be purchased separately. This compact and lightweight unit requires a gas rate input of between 15,200 and 199,000 BTU.
№8 – TAKAGI GT-540-PIH AMERICAN INDOOR PROPANE CONDENSING TANKLESS WATER HEATER
Takagi has been able to create high-quality water heaters; the GT-540-PIH is one of them. It is forged from HRS35 copper which is highly resistant to erosion and highly durable. Created for indoor use, this unit features a temperature control system and diagnostics with 17 settings. For a single use, the homeowner only needs to link it to four units making it easy to install; for multiple uses – bathroom, kitchen and other rooms – one needs to connect to 20 units. The system comes with 0.95 energy factor and outputs 10GPM.
№9 – Takagi T-KJr2-OS-NG Outdoor Tankless Water Heater
The Takagi T-KJr2-OS-NG was created for outdoor use only. With a 6.6GPM flow rate, this tank offers enough to supply a small residential home. The unit uses natural gas and can be converted into a direct-vent system. It features a freeze protection system, 19,500 – 140,000BTU/hr gas rate input and 82 percent energy efficient.
№10 – Camplux 10L 2.64GPM Outdoor Portable Propane Tankless Water Heater
Camplux 2.64GPM tankless gas water heater is a good fit for a bathtub/shower heater. It features a summer/winter conversion system which enables homeowners to save more energy in summer. For safety, the heater sports a 20 minutes automatic safety system, anti-freezing and flame failure protection systems.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 12 percent of the average home utility bill—and carbon footprint—comes from heating water. Only heating and cooling the home itself are more energy-intensive.
Shoppers in the market for an efficient water heater can start by looking for an Energy Star label, bestowed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to designate energy-efficient products. Other choices depend on your home, pocketbook, and level of eco-commitment.
Some fuels heat water more efficiently than others. Natural gas, burned in the basement, typically has a greener signature than electricity that’s derived from burning coal at a distant power plant.
“But for most people, the fuel that heats and cools their house is going to heat the water,” says Maria Vargas of the EPA. “It’s unlikely in our experience that people are going to switch fuels.”
Fortunately, consumers can make green water heater choices no matter how they get their energy. (See the “Environmental Impact” section for a rundown of green water heater options, from natural gas to the sun.)
Energy Star-Qualified High-Efficiency Gas Storage: These super-efficient storage-tank water heaters cost a bit more than conventional versions but can pay for themselves in less than three years. And from day one they’ll start repaying the planet by using far less energy. The EPA suggests that by replacing all the standard gas storage heaters sold this year with qualified high-efficiency versions, one billion pounds of CO₂ could be kept out of Earth’s atmosphere. That would be like creating 132,000 acres of new forest.
Gas Condensing: To take green gains to an entirely different level, consider a gas condensing water heater. These systems are new to many in the U.S., as they didn’t begin appearing on the market in significant numbers until 2010.
Gas condensing water heaters also feature a large storage tank. But rather than venting hot exhaust gases up the chimney after heating your water once, they capture those gases and put them back to work to reheat water again—cutting total energy use by some 30 percent.
The EPA estimates that if just 5 percent of the new gas water heaters sold each year were of this type, the greenhouse gas emissions saved would be the equivalent of pulling nearly 7,000 cars off U.S. highways.
Electric Heat Pump: The electric heat pump is a cutting-edge water heater technology that can cut your energy use and emissions in half. While these units can be pricey, they can pay for themselves in energy savings in just 3 or 4 years, depending on your water use.
A typical electric water heater, says Lane Burt of the Natural Resources Defense Council, “just runs electricity through a wire, which gets hot and heats up your water. But the heat pump takes heat out of the air and puts it into your water.”
The system works like a refrigerator in reverse, using a liquid refrigerant that helps pull heat from the air and run it through a coil to heat the tank.
The EPA estimates that if every family that purchased an electric water heater this year had chosen a heat pump instead, a staggering 19.6 billion pounds of C02 could have been saved. That’s like taking 1.6 million cars off the road.
Size: If you’re buying a storage-tank water heater (see the “Environmental Impact” section for green tankless options) remember—one size doesn’t fit all. You’ll need a tank big enough to meet your family’s hot water needs, but buying one that’s too large means you’ll burn a lot of energy by continually warming water that you won’t use.
Rebates: Uncle Sam wants you to go green. Environmentally friendly systems may be more expensive, but if you buy now, you can take advantage of government incentives. You may qualify for a tax credit worth 30 percent of a water heater’s price up to $1,500. Solar water heaters pack even more savings power.
What the best water heater has
Energy efficiency. Natural gas is more affordable in most areas of the country than electricity, and because it’s more efficient, gas water heaters cost less to run. Among electric water heaters, those that use heat pump capacity offer considerable energy savings — certainly enough to offset their higher cost in just a few years. Tankless water heaters are another energy efficient choice, but they have some minuses that might not make them a perfect fit for every situation. Regardless of the type or fuel source, all new water heaters are subject to the current NACEA energy efficiency regulations, which went into effect in April 2015.
Ample hot water capacity. The right-sized water heater will provide your family with all the hot water it needs, while costing less in terms of upfront price and energy consumption. As an example, a 40 gallon hot water heater will supply enough to meet the needs of a typical family of four. When sizing a tankless hot water heater, consider both your family’s needs and your climate.
Sufficient first hour rating (FHR). The first hour rating is based on the hot water stored in the tank plus the amount of incoming cold water that can be heated in an hour. The higher the rating, the more hot water you can get during peak usage times in your home. Online calculators can help you determine what FHR you need.
Low NOx. Natural gas fuels produce nitrogen oxide pollutants. Models with a low NOx rating emit less into the surrounding air. Some areas of California require ultra-low NOx water heaters, so California residents should check the regulations before selecting a model.
High recovery rate. The recovery rate refers to how quickly the water heater can produce more hot water after the initial supply has diminished. A low recovery rate means you may be waiting awhile, or taking a cold shower once you use the initial supply.
High flow rate. This figure refers to the number of gallons of hot water per minute (GPM) the water heater can produce. Clearly, higher flow rates are useful in many situations.
A good warranty. Choose a water heater with at least a six-year warranty. Some warranties cover only the tank and parts, and most brands that cover labor limit it to just one year (though some higher end water heaters offer better labor coverage). The best water heaters come with warranties of 10 to 12 or more years.
Know before you go
How much space do you have? Water heaters vary in height and diameter. If you’re moving up in tank size, you’ll need to make sure you have enough space for the larger capacity. Also, some water heaters (usually heat-pump or hybrid types)require a certain amount of surrounding air, so you’ll need to plan for appropriate cubic square footage requirements. Water heaters that comply with current NACEA regulations may have more insulation than older models, and hence might be taller or wider than a heater they are replacing. Check the specs before buying if clearances are tight.
Do you have existing natural-gas service to your home? If you’re purchasing a gas water heater, you’ll need natural gas service to your home. If you don’t already have it, consider the additional installation costs of running a gas line — and this is a job that is best left to experts for safety reason. Gas heaters that run on liquid propane are also available, but may cost more to operate in the long run.
Consider your electrical needs. Residential water heaters typically require electricity to run. In the case of a gas heater, that’s standard 115 volt service for the ignition system — and some just plug in to a convenient outlet. Electric heaters, including tankless electric heaters, require 240 volt service, and a dedicated line that’s rated sufficiently to handle their current draw.
Consider your venting. Gas water heaters have to be vented to the outside. This can be handled in many ways, as outlined in this About.com article. Be aware that even when replacing one gas water heater with another, local building codes might have changed since your last installation. The best advice is to consult a licensed plumber to be sure that venting is done safely and adequately.
What about solar water heaters? Solar water heaters are also available. Most use solar energy as a supplement to other fuel sources as sunlight can be unpredictable, but Energy.gov notes that they can still save owners enough money to pay for themselves over time. Newer technologies are making strides in both harvesting more sunlight and storing that energy for later use, ensuring a more constant fuel supply. This article on solar heaters discusses a few different technologies and collection systems currently used for solar water heaters.
Types of Water Heaters
It’s a good idea to know the different types of water heaters available before you purchase one:
- Conventional storage water heaters offer a ready reservoir (storage tank) of hot water
- Tankless or demand-type water heaters heat water directly without the use of a storage tank
- Heat pump water heaters move heat from one place to another instead of generating heat directly for providing hot water
- Solar water heaters use the sun’s heat to provide hot water
- Tankless coil and indirect water heaters use a home’s space heating system to heat water
When selecting the best type and model of water heater for your home, consider the following:
Fuel type, availability and cost. The fuel type or energy source you use for water heating will not only affect the water heater’s annual operation costs but also its size and energy efficiency. See below for more on selecting fuel types.
Size. To provide your household with enough hot water and to maximize efficiency, you need a properly sized water heater. Visit the pages on different types of water heaters (linked above) for more on sizing.
Energy efficiency. To maximize your energy and cost savings, you want to know how energy efficient a water heater is before you purchase it. Visit the pages on different types of water heaters (linked above) for more on estimating energy efficiency.
Costs. Before you purchase a water heater, it’s also a good idea to estimate its annual operating costs and compare those costs with other less or more energy-efficient models. Visit the pages on different types of water heaters (linked above) for more on estimating costs.
Also be sure to do what you can to reduce your hot water use. You may also want to explore other strategies such as drain-water heat recovery to save money on your water heating bill.
Fuel Types, Availability and Costs for Water Heating
When selecting a new water heater, it’s important to consider what fuel type or energy source you will use, including its availability and cost. The fuel used by a water heating system will not only affect annual operation costs but also the water heater’s size and energy efficiency.
Exploring Water Heater Options by Fuel Type
Fuel type and its availability in your area may narrow your water heater choices. The following is a list of water heater options by fuel or energy source:
Widely available in the United States to fuel conventional storage, tankless or demand-type, and heat pump water heaters. It also can be used with combination water and space heating systems, which include tankless coil and indirect water heaters.
Available in some areas of the United States to fuel conventional storage water heaters, and indirect combination water and space heating systems.
Available throughout the United States to those who will have or already have a geothermal heat pump system installed in their homes for space heating and cooling. See Heat Pump Water Heaters for more information.
Available in many areas of the United States to fuel conventional storage and demand (tankless or instantaneous) water heaters, as well as combination water and space heating systems, which include tankless coil and indirect water heaters.
Available in many areas of the United States to fuel conventional storage and demand (tankless or instantaneous) water heaters, as well as indirect combination water and space heating systems.
Available throughout the United States — most abundantly in the Southwest — for solar water heaters.
Comparing Fuel Costs and Water Heater Types
If you have more than one fuel type available in your area, it’s a good idea to compare fuel costs, especially if you’re building a new home. Even if you’re replacing a water heater, you may find that you’ll save more money in the long run if you use a different fuel or energy source. Contact your utility for current fuel costs or rates.
The type of water heater you choose will also affect your water heating costs. One type of water heater may use a fuel type more efficiently than another type of water heater. For example, an electric heat pump water heater typically is more energy efficient than an electric conventional storage water heater. Also, an electric heat pump water heater might have lower energy costs because of its higher efficiency than a gas-fired conventional storage water heater, even though local natural gas costs might be lower than the electricity rates.
The promise of tankless gas water heaters (unlimited hot water, and substantial long-term energy savings)! will only ring true for you if you buy a unit that’s appropriate for your needs. With so many options to choose from, it’s a tricky thing to find your ideal balance between price and functionality.
A hugely important factor to consider is household size. Generally speaking, an apartment shouldn’t need the same gallons per minute (GPM) output from its water heater as a five-bedroom house. If you’re only running one shower or hot water-driven appliance at one time, there’s no reason to spend lots more money for something that’s designed to run several.
That brings us back to price. A smaller household or apartment can get its needs met with a much cheaper unit. Likewise, people who own larger homes with multiple bathrooms should plan on spending substantially more at the checkout.
To figure out how much you need to spend, you need to figure out how much hot water you need at any one time. This is a matter of finding your GPM (gallons per minute) usage. Look at the GPM rating on your shower head to find out how much water it uses.
The shower is by far the appliance with the largest hot water demand. The standard shower ranges from 2.5-3 GPM, while low-flow showerheads typically output 1.5 GPM. Do the same for your sinks. It’s also a good idea to check your appliances like a dishwasher or a washing machine to see how much they use.
Then, think about how many of those feeds you use at once, and how much that total GPM would be. For instance, if you live alone but like to run a load of laundry while you shower, you will want to add the washing machine to the shower head to get your total. If you live alone, and don’t run any other appliances while you’re in the shower, your total will simply be the flow rate on your shower head.
We always recommend rounding up by about 50% of your total requirements, in order to give yourself an appropriate margin of error.
In colder climates where your unit will have to work harder to heat your water, you should round up by as much as 75-100%. That’s because most models are tested at average input temperatures, which don’t apply in some far northern or high altitude regions.
Climate determines how cold incoming water is, which in turn determines the effectiveness of your hot water heater. The GPM output that companies list is the maximum possible output of water that unit can heat. You do not want to underestimate demand, especially in colder climates. Tropical climates like Florida can get away with much less powerful units, even in large households, because the heaters themselves have to do so much less work. Conversely, an apartment in Chicago should probably invest in a more powerful unit.
The final thing to consider is installation costs: specifically, the amount you’ll have to pay for venting construction and retrofitting your gas line. Tankless gas water heaters have a higher upfront cost than their electric counterparts. That’s because indoor units must be vented, and outdoor units cost even more to be weatherproofed.
Even if you’ve already got a gas line going into your house, you’ll probably need to make some slight modifications. Most water heaters with tanks use a ½” gas line, but most tankless heaters require a larger gas input, ¾” at least.
In short, installation isn’t usually as simple as just plugging and playing. It’s always worth consulting a qualified plumber to determine the full cost of retrofitting your house for a tankless gas heater.
All that said, though, natural gas is significantly cheaper than electricity, and if you pick the right unit that lasts, you will save money every month until it pays for itself. Most buyers say that their machines paid for themselves within the first 1.5-2 years!
Benefits of a Tankless Water Heater
What are the benefits of a tankless water heater? A whole-house tankless water heater can reduce your water-heating bill by 24 to 34 percent if your family uses 41 gallons or less of hot water each day. If you use more hot water—you can save from 8 percent to 14 percent. In addition, a tankless water heater will provide an endless supply of hot water.
As discussed in How a Tankless Water Heater Works, a whole-house tankless water heater heats water moving through the system instead of heating and storing hot water in a large tank.
The familiar tank-style storage water heater is basically a large container with a heater. It stores a lot of water (typically 40 to 80 gallons), heats the water, and keeps it hot until needed. When hot water leaves the tank to serve a faucet or appliance, cold water replaces it and the cycle repeats. The downside of a conventional storage water heater is that it wastes considerable energy keeping water hot 24 hours a day, seven days a week, whether or not you need hot water.
Instead of storing hot water, a tankless water heater circulates incoming cold water through a series of electric coils or powerful gas burners, called a “heat exchanger,” that heats up when you turn on a tap or hot-water-using appliance. When you turn off the fixture or appliance, the electric elements or burners shut off.
Manufacturers make tankless water heaters in several varieties, from small, electric point-of-use models to larger gas appliances that supply the whole house. If you want to replace a storage water heater, you’ll need a whole-house tankless water heater. If you just want to provide hot water quickly and efficiently at a single fixture, such as a bathroom sink, a point-of-use water heater is the better choice. If you simply want instant hot water at the kitchen sink, a hot water dispenser is the appliance for you.
All tankless water heaters don’t necessarily supply hot water instantly. The only way to guarantee super-fast hot water is to have a water heater right next to the faucet, shower, or appliance that it serves. Otherwise, hot water sits in the pipes between the water heater and the fixture, where it cools. The water at the fixture won’t be hot until hot water replaces that cold water.
Tankless Water Heater Flow
With a tankless water heater, you don’t empty the water heater with a tall bath because there isn’t a tank to empty. The supply of hot water can be endless. With this type of water heater, the issue isn’t capacity, it’s flow.
Think of it this way: If two showers and the washing machine run at the same time, a tankless water heater can’t heat the large volume of water that is passing so quickly through it. Consequently, it will deliver lukewarm water. The solution? Buy a unit that puts out a lot of heat. Also, stagger showers and washing machine usage by a couple of minutes. Or, the more expensive option, buy two tankless water heaters.
To further clarify, you can fill an oversized bathtub when you have a tankless water heater, but not when another appliance or fixture is using hot water. And, if the tub’s faucet delivers a heavy flow, you may have to slow down the water a little when filling it. Aside from staggering usage, the key to buying the best tankless water heater is sizing it appropriately. See below for more about this.
Best Tankless Water Heater Warranties
Be sure to check out the tankless water heater’s warranty. Because they don’t have tanks that deteriorate after years of storing water, the best tankless water heaters offer long-term reliability. Warranties on the critical component—the heat exchanger—run from five to twelve years.
Minerals found in water, especially hard water, eventually corrode a storage water tank. Because tankless water heaters don’t store water, they last longer than storage water heaters. Whereas conventional storage water heaters last about 10 years, tankless water heaters last 20 years or longer. Another problem with storage water heaters is that minerals eventually get cooked onto the bottom of the tank, which reduces heating efficiency.
Another plus with tankless models is that you can replace parts when they break down.
Electric or gas, solar or heat pump … which is best for me?
The first decision you’ll need to make when choosing a HWS is the heating method: electricity, gas, solar or heat pump?
An electrically heated storage tank system is usually relatively cheap to buy and install, but is usually the most expensive to run, especially if it’s on the continuous (full day) rate.
Systems that run on off-peak electricity are much cheaper to run, but need a larger tank as the water heated overnight has to last you all day. And off-peak electricity isn’t available to all homes.
- A four-person household typically needs a 125–160L tank for a continuous system or 250–315L for off-peak.
- Can be installed indoors or outdoors.
- Electric instantaneous water heaters are also available.
Cost: They range in price from about $300 to $1500 (not including installation).
Natural gas is a good option if you have the connection for it. It’s cheaper than electricity (though gas prices are rising) and because gas rates don’t vary through the day, gas hot water systems can heat water as needed.
- A four-person household needs a tank of about 135–170L. You also have the option of an instantaneous system.
- Usually installed outdoors due to venting requirements, but can be installed indoors with a flue.
- Have an energy efficiency star rating.
- Some have a pilot light, which uses a small amount of gas. Electric ignition is more economical, but in a blackout you can lose your hot water supply.
- Liquid petroleum gas (LPG) bottles are an alternative to natural gas – but expect to pay significantly more in running costs.
Cost: They range in price from about $900 to $2000 (not including installation).
Consists of solar collector panels and a storage tank. A four-person household typically needs about four square metres of solar collector area (two panels) and a 300–360L tank. You need a large tank to allow for days with less sunlight (or more hot showers than usual).
- If your panels can’t be installed in an ideal location, they may be less efficient and you’ll need a larger collection area.
- The storage tank usually has an electric or gas booster element to keep the water hot on days with less sunshine.
- Comparatively expensive and time-consuming to install, but a well-chosen system will pay for itself in the long run due to very low running costs.
- Government rebates and other incentives can help offset the purchase cost.
- See our solar hot water buying guide for more information.
Cost: They range in price from about $2000 to $7000 (not including installation).
A much more efficient form of electric storage tank system that works on the same principle as a fridge or air conditioner, by extracting heat from the air and using it to heat the water tank.
- Units are usually integrated (tank and compressor together) but can also be split (separate tank and compressor).
- They need to be installed in a well-ventilated area – usually outdoors.
- The compressor on the unit can be noisy, like the outdoor unit of an air conditioner, so you can’t install them too close to a neighbouring home.
They tend to work best in warm and temperate regions, but there are models designed to work well in cold climates too, and most systems have a booster element for days of cold weather or high demand.
- You’ll typically need a 270–315L tank for a four-person household.
- Government rebates and other incentives can help offset the purchase cost.
Cost: They range in price from about $2500 to $4000 (not including installation).
Storage tank or continuous flow (‘instantaneous’)?
- The next decision, after heating method, is whether you go for a system with a tank, or one that heats water as needed.
- Storage tank
- Most electric, gas, solar and heat pump hot water systems use a tank.
- Mild-steel tanks can corrode over time; maintenance every few years can help prevent this. They usually have five- to 10-year warranties.
Stainless steel tanks are more expensive, but generally last longer and don’t require as much maintenance as mild-steel tanks. They usually carry a 10-year warranty, but still require occasional maintenance (such as replacement of valves and seals).
- Local water quality may dictate which type is best for you; check with the installer.
- Tanks are insulated, but there is always some heat loss over time, so it’s good to install them in a sunny spot or in an insulated space.
Also often referred to as “instantaneous”, a continuous flow HWS heats only as much water as you need, when you need it. They aren’t truly instantaneous – it can take a few seconds before hot water starts flowing from the tap, especially when there’s a fair distance of pipe between the HWS and the tap.
- Most models use gas, but electric models are available.
- As there are no heat losses as with water stored in a tank, they’re often cheaper to run than storage systems.
Electric models will use the full electricity tariff for whenever they are in use, so running costs may be higher than for an off-peak tank, but less than a continuous tank system.
The size you need (flow rate in litres per minute) depends more on the number of hot water outlets the heater has to serve than on the number of people in the household. As a general rule, for a two-bathroom house you need a flow rate of about 22–24 L/min. Talk to your supplier to find the right capacity for your home.
We’ve had a couple of members feed back about their continuous flow water heaters not turning on because of a combination of low flow showerheads and too high a trigger point for the instantaneous – which means not generating enough flow for the continuous flow to be triggered. Keep this in mind if you are considering a combination of both and confirm the trigger point required for your instantaneous choice.
Energy star ratings
Gas hot water systems have energy efficiency star rating labels; the more stars, the more efficient the water heater. This is a voluntary rating scheme, unregulated by government. The highest rating is six stars.
Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) currently apply for electric hot water storage systems. MEPS are currently under consideration for other water heater types. This will eliminate inefficient models from the market and may see star rating labels appear on all hot water systems.
Tankless Water Heater
How It Works: Just as the name suggests, a tankless water heater will heat water without the use of a storage tank or heat pump. Cold water simply runs from the pipe into the appliance, which heats the water using electricity, gas or propane.
Lifespan: According to the EPA, a tankless water heater can last for up to 20 years if properly maintained.
Pros: The biggest pro to investing in a tankless water heater is that you never have to worry about hot water running out, since water is transferred directly from the pipe. With other models, there is a finite amount of hot water at a given time and if you run out, you have to wait for the tank to refill. A tankless water heater can also save a great deal of energy, which is great for the environment and can help ease your monthly electricity bill. Using a tankless system, you will be able to heat water using an on-demand type system. This will help save a lot of money on electricity usage.
Cons: The only real drawback to using a tankless water heater is that you typically can’t run more than one stream of hot water at a given time for an extended length and expect to achieve strong results. So while there is an infinite amount of water that you can use at a given time, it’s not easy to stretch this water out over multiple faucets or shower heads.
Now that you have a better sense of the different types of water heaters on the market, it’s important to discuss safety and maintenance tips.
As mentioned above, most of the time a hot water heater is a low-maintenance system that typically only becomes noticeable when it breaks. However, there are several things that you need to be aware of in order to ensure safe usage; this is particularly true in regard to water storage tanks.
First and foremost, you need to keep ventilation in mind. As with any other system that uses natural gas or propane, a hot water heater needs to be properly ventilated; make sure that ventilation pipes are well-insulated and have a clear route out of the house in order to prevent gas from escaping and causing an explosion or fire.
Next, there are temperature and pressure concerns to worry about for water storage tanks. It’s common to want to turn water to a lower temperature – from 110 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit – in order to reduce scalding threats. However, doing this could result in the growth of harmful bacteria inside of the tank that could actually be toxic. If you don’t want the hassle of worrying about adjusting your water temperature for safety reasons, you may want to avoid investing in a storage tank.
Lastly, failure to keep an eye on the pressure could result in an explosion, which could be fatal. Explosions are sometimes caused by gas leaks, but more often by the undo mounting of pressure within a water tank. Normally, tanks either shut off pressure or release it through a safety valve. However, if a tank wears down and its release mechanisms fail, pressure can build and ultimately lead to a big burst. To reduce the possibility of a water heater explosion, have your unit inspected on an annual basis.
As an added measure of precaution, regularly check your temperature and pressure – T&P – valve. Designed to release excess pressure, the T&P should let out some amount of water when you pull the lever. You should also keep the heating temperature set to a maximum of 125 degrees Fahrenheit; temperatures that exceed 130 will damage most units.
As you weigh the pros and cons of the different types of water heaters, it’s also important to determine how much height and width will be available in your home for a given unit. Measure the dimensions of the area you have set aside for the installation of a water heater. If you foresee a rise in the hot water usage of your household in the years ahead, you might want to have the plumbing routed elsewhere to allow for a later upgrade in tank size. Alternately, a shorter, wider lowboy heater would allow you to heat the water in equal proportion to a regular model, but would also be an easier fit in low-ceilinged areas.
Modern Technology for Water Heaters
Water heaters with high efficiency are a low-cost option that are also eco-friendly. The efficiency of a given model is indicated by its Energy Factor – EF – rating, with the highest rankings equaling the greatest efficiency. A model with a higher EF will generally cost more, but its efficiency will save money on your water heating expenses in the months and years ahead. For a better idea of how the costs and functions of various water heaters will play out over time, refer to a given model’s energy label; this should tell you how much water it can heat, as well as the average, yearly operating expenses.
ENERGY STAR®. As the federally backed seal of approval for efficiency, ENERGY STAR points consumers in the right direction as far as products and purchases that are both reasonably priced and kind to the environment. Created jointly by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, devices that bear this symbol mostly use 20 to 30 percent less energy than standard devices; water heaters that bear this symbol are now available with a 0.62 energy factor. To the efficiency minded consumer, the ENERGY STAR symbol serves as an indicator of affordability and eco-friendliness.
Intuitive Technology. On many newer water heater models, the settings and temperature gauges can be altered based on the usage habits of your household. This allows for improved efficiency, better functionality and a longer life for your unit.
Premium Electronic Gas Valve. On some of the newer water heating units, gas valves are becoming both simpler and more advanced. With precise and reliable accuracy, these valves offer vastly improved temperature control with less complicated parts than those found in traditional gas valves. Premium electronic gas valves are easy to install, because they’re thermopile powered and therefore don’t run on external sources.
Dry Fire Protection. This is a protective feature on electric water heaters that prevents the upper element from going out when no water is detected.
Accessories for Water Heaters
Various accessories can be utilized to further boost the efficiency and security of your water heater.
Expansion tanks. Made to hold further supplies of water while the main tank heats up cold water, expansion tanks connect to water heaters.
Insulating blankets. Designed to fit over a water heater, these blankets – which are especially good for units in areas that lack heat – will strengthen the insulation.
Pressure regulators. To stop the water from going over the limit as it leaves the tank, regulators can be attached to the outlets on a heating unit. This safeguards pipes from plumbing pressure surges, which could otherwise lead to leaks.
Timers. Attached to the electrical supply of water heater units, timers allow you to save energy and cut down on your heating costs by reserving the process for when it’s needed.
Water alarms. Usually placed beside the heating unit, the alarm will sound if it detects that there’s a leaking problem or too much water in the system.
Water heater pans. Designed to capture leaking water caused by overflows in heat tanks, pans sit under the units and connect to drain hoses.
Water heater stands. Used to propel a heater off the ground, a stand would help lower the possibility of a fire if ever a flammable liquid were to land on the ground.
While most water heaters last from 10 to 15 years, problems with certain models could possibly occur before that time. The following problems are among the warning signs of a troubled water heater:
Soaring utility costs. If your heater is exerting a lot more effort than before just to perform its basic functions, chances are that repairs are in order.
Leaks and/or rust. To ensure optimal performance from your water heater, you should have the unit inspected annually for signs of wear and distress. If water is corroding the unit or seeping onto the floor, the heater is likely in need of repairs.
Dirty/contaminated water. If tap water becomes rancid or rusty, it could be due to problems with the water heater.
Noise from the unit. If you hear popping or crackling noises coming from your unit, it’s possible that the heating mechanisms are under stress.
Seven Leading Manufacturers of Water Heaters
General Electric makes gas and electric water heaters. GE tank water heaters are available in multiple sizes, with energy-efficiency claims that vary by size and multiple levels of warranty coverage. The company’s tank water heaters are available exclusively at Home Depot. General Electric recently introduced a line of tankless water heaters.
When it comes to water heaters, there are thousands of different models to choose from, and just as many manufacturers. Ideal for people who use hot water regularly but can’t afford astronomic utility bills, Energy Star devices are perfect for keeping monthly expenses down with great savings on local and state taxes. The GE GeoSpring Hybrid Water Heater is part of the next generation of GE water heaters, with an Energy Star rating and claiming to consume as much as 62% less energy as standard models.
This is a hybrid water heater. What this means is it uses a combination of technologies to heat the water. The first technology is the traditional electric element – eletricity heats up some metal which heats up your water. Like a kettle, but bigger. The second is a heat pump. This draws in ambient heat from the surrounding air and transfers this to the water.
GE claim this results in up to 62% extra efficiency. This is huge, putting it on a par with a tankless water heater in energy efficiency.
This unit allows you to make significant savings without having to cut the amount of hot water you would normally use. Although it is by far one of the most expensive models on the market, the amount of energy saved makes this unit well worth its price.
Kenmore makes gas and electric water heaters. Kenmore water heaters are available in multiple sizes, Power Miser, and Hydrosense electronic-temperature-control configurations. Kenmore water heaters are available at Sears.
Rheem manufactures and markets gas and electric water heaters. Rheem makes residential water heaters in tank, tankless, and point-of-use configurations and units that work with solar water-heater systems. Rheem water heaters are available in multiple sizes and warranties, with energy-efficiency claims that vary by size. Rheem tankless water heaters are available at Home Depot. Its tank water heaters are available online and through a network of dealers.
Whirlpool manufactures and markets gas and electric water heaters. Whirlpool tank water heaters are available in multiple sizes, and standard and power vent configurations. Whirlpool water heaters are available at Lowe’s.
A. O. Smith Corporation is a manufacturer of both residential and commercial water heaters and boilers. It is the largest manufacturer and marketer of water heaters in North
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Residential water heating represents the second largest consumption of energy in the home, right behind heating and cooling. For many years, there was no official ENERGY STAR® program for water heaters. But, beginning on January 1st, 2009 the DOE released their final requirement and established the ENERGY STAR® program for Residential water heaters.
ENERGY STAR® is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy. Their goal for developing this program is to assist the residential water heater manufacturers in promoting high efficiency products that save money, use less energy, and deliver the same or better performance as comparable products.
Hopefully, these pros and cons helped make things a little bit clearer for you and made the choice easier.
Lastly, Tankless water heaters are undisputedly the future of heaters. But did they come a little too early for us? Maybe. But then again, maybe it is the motive to push us to upgrade our homes and our electrical circuits, our heating systems and at the same time teach us a thing or two about conserving energy.
If you want my honest opinion, I think that tankless water heaters are not a must and you can do okay with regular tank heaters for the moment. However, if you already have the budget and do not know where to put it yet then tankless water heaters would be your safest and smartest choice.
The cost of these heaters might be hard to swallow at first but in time, they will make up for that through saving you up to a 100$ annually on your electric bill. Not only that, but the warranty on these heaters speaks for itself. When you will get one of these tankless water heaters and get through the first bill, you can pretty much cruise carefree, enjoy your hot water and pay less every month.
So, in order to make an informed buying decision, read our unrivaled, all-inclusive tankless water heaters buying guide in which we explained in details all the relevant specifications and guidelines of how to choose the best tankless water heater.
So, TOP10 of water heater gas:
- №1 — Takagi TH3DV TH3 Series 199000 BTU
- №2 — Eccotemp FVI-12-LP High Capacity
- №3 — Eccotemp FVI-12-NG High Capacity
- №4 — Marey Power Gas 10L Digital Panel Tankless Water Heater
- №5 — Rinnai RL75iN Natural Gas Tankless Water Heater
- №6 — Marey Power Gas 10L Tankless Water Heater
- №7 — Rinnai RUC98iN Ultra Series Natural Gas Tankless Water Heater
- №8 — TAKAGI GT-540-PIH AMERICAN INDOOR PROPANE CONDENSING TANKLESS WATER HEATER
- №9 — Takagi T-KJr2-OS-NG Outdoor Tankless Water Heater
- №10 — Camplux 10L 2.64GPM Outdoor Portable Propane Tankless Water Heater
by Don Oliver | Last Updated September 1, 2017