We only install the highest quality water heaters!
Balanced Plumbing knows water heaters, and there are a few that we have used and highly recommend. Our years of installation experience in working with these products have taught us that these are the most reliable and dependable options when a replacement is needed.
A.O. Smith, GPHE-50 Vertex™ Power-Vent 50-Gallon Gas Water Heater From A.O. Smith
A.O. Smith is our favorite brand for water heaters because their products are very dependable and innovative. The GPHE-50 Power Vent features a 50-gallon tank and a 76,000 BTU gas burner (we also recommend the 100-gallon). This high efficiency, tank-style water heater delivers a thermal efficiency of 90% and a recovery rate of 92 gallons per hour. We prefer to use the GPHE-50/100 Power Vent because it carries a 6-year limited warranty and meets Low NOx emission requirements.
A.O. Smith, GCV-50 ProMax® 50-Gallon Gas Water Heater From A.O. Smith
The ProMax® 300/301 Series gas water heater features a 50-gallon tank and a 40,000 BTU gas burner. This economical, tank-style water heater delivers a first-hour rating of 88 gallons and a recovery rate of 41 gallons per hour. We prefer to use the ProMax® series because it carries a 6-year limited warranty and meets Low NOx emission requirements. With a 0.58 Energy Factor, this water heater is not ENERGY STAR® qualified.
A.O. Smith, ATI-540H-N Tankless Water Heater From A.O. Smith
The ATI-540H-N tankless water heater uses up to 199,000 BTUs of natural gas to deliver a max flow rate of 6.6 GPM. We highly recommend the ATI-540H-N because it utilizes condensing technology to achieve an Energy Factor of 0.95, and is ENERGY STAR® qualified. This model meets Ultra-Low NOx emission requirements and comes with a 15-year limited warranty.
"When it comes to high-efficiency tankless water heaters, no one comes close to matching the expertise and innovation of A.O. Smith. With higher efficiency ratings and groundbreaking designs, our tankless water heaters feature non-condensing and condensing technology and are part of a new era in water heating." ~ A.O. Smith
Gas vs. Electric
Technically, there are four options for water heating fuel sources: gas, electric, oil, and propane. Oil heating is significantly more expensive, and it has been declining in popularity for many years – unless you live in an older home with oil heating already set up, you'll probably want to consider one of the other options to give you access to the most advanced models on the current market. Propane is basically just an alternative to natural gas. So really, the choice is between natural gas and electric water heating – and it's not a simple one.
Advantages of gas water heaters include cheaper fuel, higher performance rates, and more advanced water heating technology. Advantages of electric water heaters include cheaper installation, simpler function, safer operation (no carbon monoxide risk), and longer lifespans. You'll want to talk to a professional plumber about your specific situation before choosing. Only a skilled local expert can tell you what hook-ups are most immediately available, what people in your area are finding success with, and which fuel source better suits your lifestyle.
Tank vs. Tankless
Storage tank water heaters typically have a capacity of 30 to 60 gallons, but the most common size is 50 gallons. The capacity you want depends on the size of your household and how much hot water you use (your plumber can help with the calculations). Using natural gas, electricity, fuel oil, or propane, these tanks continuously heat water to keep a full store at the ready. That means you're paying to have hot water whether you need it or not.
Storage tanks can be 5 feet tall or taller and about 2 feet wide or wider. If your water heater is in the basement, you might not mind the space it takes. But if you don't have a basement, you may have to stash it in a closet—and that can be a tight fit. And keep in mind that because of recent federal energy regulations, a replacement storage tank may take up more space than your old one, even if it's the same capacity, because newer ones are required to have more insulation.
Tanks that hold less than 55 gallons may be an inch or two larger. But tanks of 55 gallons or more will require even more space, depending on the energy-saving technology they use.
Storage Tank Water Heater Maintenance
- Have you flushed your water heater lately? This boring but important chore should be done at least twice a year to remove the sediment that accumulates on the bottom of the tank. Sediment buildup shortens the life of your water heater and adds to your energy bill by reducing its efficiency. Connect a standard garden hose to the water heater drain outlet near the base. Place the other end of the hose near a floor drain or in a large bucket. Draining 2 or 3 gallons of water is usually enough to flush out sediments, but always let the water flow until you no longer see particles in the bucket. Caution: the water will be hot.
- Water heaters are commonly installed at a pre-set temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends a setting of 120 degrees for most households, estimating that this can reduce energy costs for water heating by over $400 per year. Plus, youll reduce the risk of scalding—water heaters that are set too high send thousands (mostly children) to hospitals each year with burns from water from a faucet. If you have a gas water heater, the temperature can easily be adjusted with the thermostat located on the tank. For an electric water heater, shut off power to the unit by flipping the breaker at the service panel, pull back any insulation to expose the thermostat, use a screwdriver to change the thermostat temperature in 10-degree increments, close the panel, turn the power on, and check the water temperature after one hour.
- Many people are unaware of just how much the water heater's anode rod does in order to protect the lining of your heater's tank. The sacrificial anode rod is called that for a reason: it is sacrificing itself to save the lining of the tank. At some point, all of the magnesium or aluminum of the rod will have rusted away, and it will no longer have electrons to give up to save the tank's electrons from the rusting process. When the anode rod has rusted away, the water heater's tank may begin to rust, which will cause the water heater to fail—and you'll end up paying hundreds for a brand new water heater. Replace the rod if more than 6 inches of the core steel wire is exposed, the rod is less than 1/2 inch thick, or the rod is coated with calcium.
While storage tank water heaters are by far the most common type; however, tankless water heaters are becoming increasingly common. That's because of their reputation for running more efficiently, an appealing characteristic given that heating water is the average US home's second-highest utility cost after heating and cooling the house itself.
As their name implies, tankless, or on-demand water heaters, don't store water in a tank. Instead, they heat water as it passes through the unit, using a heat exchanger to rapidly bring it up to temperature. (They run on electricity, natural gas, or propane). Heating water only when you need it eliminates the standby energy losses you get with a storage tank.
Whole-house tankless units mount on a wall, saving you floor space and fitting into tight spaces. They vary in size, but average about 2 feet tall and a bit over a foot wide. For homes that use 41 gallons or less of hot water daily, demand water heaters can be 24%–34% more energy-efficient than conventional storage tank water heaters. They can be 8%–14% more energy efficient for homes that use a lot of hot water—around 86 gallons per day. You can achieve even greater energy savings of 27%–50% if you install a demand water heater at each hot water outlet.
The initial cost of a tankless water heater is greater than that of a conventional storage water heater, but tankless water heaters will typically last longer and have lower operating and energy costs, which could offset its higher purchase price. Most tankless water heaters have a life expectancy of more than 20 years. They also have easily replaceable parts that extend their life by many more years. In contrast, storage water heaters last 10–15 years.
Tankless water heaters can avoid the standby heat losses associated with storage water heaters. However, although gas-fired tankless water heaters tend to have higher flow rates than electric ones, they can waste energy if they have a constantly burning pilot light. This can sometimes offset the elimination of standby energy losses when compared to a storage water heater. In a gas-fired storage water heater, the pilot light heats the water in the tank so the energy isn't wasted.