When it's time to buy a new hot water heater, you are probably concerned with how much hot water it can actually produce or deliver in any given time and with the cost of purchase and installation. Your family's hot water usage could be one of the biggest utility expenses in the home, so you also want to think about long-term costs of using that hot water heater over the years. Note a few pros and cons of different energy efficient hot water heaters and some suggestions for models you may not realize are available for your home today.
Power vent gas hot water heater
A power vent hot water heater is located inside a type of sealed envelope that connects to the ducts of your home. During cooler weather, the water in the tank will lose some heat, but that heat is captured in that envelope and directed through the home's ductwork. This may not result in as much heat in the home as turning on a furnace, but your furnace may cycle on less often or cycle off sooner when the water in the tank loses that heat. In turn, you're using less electricity to keep your home comfortable overall.
If you live in a warmer climate, a heat pump is a good choice for a hot water heater. This pump will pull heat from the air outside and circulate it around the water heater. Heat pumps can also be used to pull heat out of the home to cool it off; this heat can also be redirected to the hot water heater. Heat pumps are usually more energy efficient than heating coils that use electricity for energy and, as with power vent heaters, they are also doing double duty by cooling your home while also heating your water, reducing your energy consumption overall.
A tankless heater doesn't heat a standing tank of water; instead, water runs over a heated coil when you turn on a faucet. This type of on-demand system doesn't waste any energy, as water is only heated when needed. However, one drawback of a tankless heater is that you may use far more hot water than before, simply because you never run out of hot water and showers never go cold. If you should decide on this type of system, you want to be careful about your overall hot water usage; use a timer or clock in the shower for everyone in the family, if needed.
For more information and options, contact a hot water maintenance or installation professional.