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Hot Water Heater Buying Guide

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Water heater replacement can seem daunting. It’s a major purchase for your home and you want to ensure that your new water heater meets your family’s needs and the contractor you hire will do the job right. You also want a water heater that is efficient enough to save you energy and money compared to your current model. Aside from researching size and brands, what other information should you know?

Know When It’s Time to Replace Your Water Heater

Is your current water heater leaking? Does it fail to consistently produce hot water? The average life expectancy of a water heater is between 10 and 15 years, and an old water heater can operate at very low efficiency for years before it finally fails. According to ENERGY STAR, if your water heater is at least 10 years old, now is the best time to plan for a replacement. In addition to avoiding cold showers and a soaked basement, replacing your unit with a new high-efficiency water heater will help you save energy compared to a model manufactured 10 or 15 years ago. Replacing your old water heater with a new high-efficiency model can reduce the energy you use to heat water by up to half. Since water heating is the second largest energy expense in your home, the money you save on energy can help pay for the cost of a new unit.

Factors to Consider

When replacing your water heater, consider the following:

  • Type: The first step is determining whether you require a gas water heater or an electric water heater. If you are interested in a more energy-efficient option, a heat pump water heater or a gas tankless water heater may be the right solution.
  • Size: The capacity of your water heater tank (the number of gallons of water held) is an important factor to consider in your purchasing decision. The size of your family and the space available for your water heater also play important roles. Always anticipate your family’s future needs when selecting your new water heater.
  • Recovery Rate: The number of gallons of water that can be heated in an hour is another important factor that should go into your purchasing decision. Evaluate how much water your household demands and how your tank heats the water when considering your water heater’s recovery rate. One rule of thumb is that electric water heaters with a high tank capacity usually have low recovery rates, since there is more water available. Conversely, gas water heaters with a high recovery rate may not need a large tank capacity, because the unit can heat the water faster.
  • Tank Space Dimensions: What are your space considerations? Know the dimensions where your water heater is located. Determine the height of your current water heater as well as the diameter. This information will help you understand the space constraints associated with upgrading your tank. Also, it is important to know the wattage of your current water heater.
  • Warranty: The availability of a manufacturer warranty, or dealer warranty, is often a valuable option that can provide parts and labor coverage in the case of equipment malfunctions. Before replacing a water heater, make sure your existing water heater is not still under warranty, as this could save you money.
  • Accessories: Water heating system accessories can enhance comfort, while creating a healthier indoor environment. Such options include a circulator pump and timer, a drip pan and an expansion tank. BGE HOME will make sure your installation will be completed with all necessary components.
  • Contractor: Selecting the right contractor for your water heater replacement is an important decision. Check the contractor’s credentials and ask about the licensing and training of their technicians. Get multiple quotes and ask what the water heater installation includes. Some companies will add on fees for additional parts or equipment needed. Make sure the contractor you choose will secure the required permits and comply with all local building codes and utility regulations. Ask about the warranty on their work. Ensure that they can repair the equipment they install and provide emergency service if something goes wrong.

How Big Should Your Tank Be?

Household Size Demand* Gas Electric
5 or more Regular 50 or 75 Gallon 80 Gallon
High 75 Gallon 120 Gallon
3 to 4 Regular 40 Gallon 50 or 65 Gallon
High 50 or 75 Gallon 80 Gallon
2 or less Regular 30 Gallon 40 Gallon
High 40 Gallon 50 Gallon

* Regular hot water demand includes a home with a washer and dishwasher. High hot water demand includes a home with teenagers, whirlpool tubs, spas and oversized baths.

The BGE HOME Advantage

The water heater experts at BGE HOME can ensure that you receive the best new water heater replacement for your family’s needs, and that the installation is done in accordance with all requirements and regulations. We offer a variety of options for your home and budget and provide the service that you would expect from an industry leader in water heater replacement.

  • No-Hassle Customer Service. At BGE HOME, we can provide you with an upfront quote over the phone in minutes. Our Energy & Comfort Consultants will ask you questions about your water needs and the model and size of your current water heater.
  • Same-day Availability. BGE HOME can often install your new water heater the same day you call. We also offer Saturday and Sunday appointments. We stock hundreds of water heaters, in a variety of sizes and brands, in our local warehouse.
  • Licensing and Compliance. Every installer is a licensed plumber and receives additional safety training. We check all equipment, including a home’s venting, to ensure adherence to building codes. BGE HOME secures all required permits from local authorities and schedules any required inspection, based on customer time availability.
  • Flat-rate pricing. With BGE HOME, the price you’re quoted for a water heater replacement is the price you’ll pay. Our quotes are all-inclusive, with no added fees for additional equipment, such as a shut-off valve or expansion tank.
  • Warranty. We provide a 1-year warranty on all parts and labor, in addition to the manufacturer’s warranty. We also offer extended warranty options.
  • Our Pledge to You. At BGE HOME, we pledge to leave every home we enter a better place. That includes expert installation as well as protecting your home. Our technicians use drop cloths and hand trucks on every job, to protect your home during delivery, installation and the removal of your old water heater. At the conclusion of the installation, the technician will explain your new water heater’s operation and answer any questions you may have.

How Much Energy Could You Be Saving?

A high-efficiency system saves you energy and money.

Save Energy

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