One of the most common investments a homeowner finds themselves required to make in a home is a new water heater. Water heaters have become more reliable in the past decade, but near the end of a it’s lifespan issues such as inadequate hot water supply, leakage, and high electricity use invariably come up. A water heater is usually one of the largest drains on electricity and it pays to research replacement choices before purchasing a new model. Investment in a higher quality model may be more costly, but will often pay for itself over the expected years of ownership. Good brands to choose from include: Bradford-White, State Industries, A.O. Smith

Many utility companies offer rebates on certain models of water heaters, generally those certified as low energy utilizing models. Some locations offer tax rebates for appliance replacement and manufacturers may offer rebates as well. It pays to inquire from your appliance salesperson if they are familiar with any programs offered in your area. Even without rebates or tax credits, reduced operating costs often pay for appliance replacement over the time period the appliance is expected to last.

Energy Star Rated

Always look for Energy Star rated units when shopping for a replacement. This seal advises that the model will likely reduce your electricity bill and has been confirmed as a model that utilizes a reduced amount of energy when compared to other models on the market. The bright yellow and black tags often explain the expected amount of energy used, as well as the anticipated electricity bill based on normal usage of the appliance.


The biggest trend currently is tankless water heaters. These models reduce the area necessary for a water heater and are a good choice for condos and apartments. Tankless heaters do not have a large standing water supply, instead they instantly heat the water to the necessary temperature as it is required. It is important to ensure you chose a model rated to the expected needs of your family, but these models often provide significantly more reliable hot water delivery than tank models. These types of units are generally more expensive, but reduce the frustration with limited amounts of hot water.


A new system can be installed in a few hours. Most stores that sell hot water heaters offer installation for a small charge or even for free. A general contractor can generally install a water heaters, however in many locations an inspection will be required by the utility company to ensure safe installation if it is not done by a certified installer. This is especially crucial on gas models to ensure that natural gas is not leaking into the home.

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