What kind of Water Heater to Buy

Shopping for a water heater in the home can get fairly complex. Store bought models might seem great out of the box, but they often lack the extensive warranties that a specialty model has. Many stores also won’t deliver and install your water heater on the same day.

Tank vs. Tankless

Choosing between a water heater with a tank and one without also represents a dilemma. A tankless water heater might give you more storage, and if you consume a lot of hot water, better flow for warm water. A gas powered water heater is not “the low end” model by any means, but they will require some special maintenance to remain efficient over time. The biggest advantage to a tankless heater is that there is no downtime waiting for water to get warm. You turn the hot faucet on and you have hot water, where as a heater with a tank would need to reheat water each time you need more.

Tankless heaters avoid losing heat by only heating water as needed. These heaters also have a sophisticated combustion system controlled by the unit’s internal electronics. You will find tankless heaters are, on the whole, about 20% more efficient than the best high efficiency models.

Energy Savings

High efficiency tank models eliminate the need to burn the pilot light continuously, and are on average about five to ten-percent more efficient than older units. Newer units also produce less harmful emissions, great for anyone looking to decrease their carbon footprint. Those heaters rates as “high efficiency” units may also qualify for a 30% tax credit through the Energy Star program.

Gas water heaters are not as highly efficient as electric units, mostly because of how combustion works in gas heaters. These heaters need to vent exhaust gases, causing some heat to escape and releasing precious energy from the home.


Tankless water heaters typically have a higher upfront cost, but the savings may earn you back your investment over time. When you’re purchasing a water heater, you need to make sure you’re buying a unit that will lost a long time. This is why you may want to avoid boxed retailers, where water heater warranties are less robust and may not cover you in the event of a malfunction.