A Guide to Choosing the Right Water Heater for Your Home

A Guide to Choosing the Right Water Heater for Your Home
Posted on May 12, 2023

When it comes to the comfort and convenience of your home, few things are as essential as a reliable and efficient water heater. Whether you're building a new house or replacing an old one, choosing the right water heater is a decision that can greatly impact your daily life. With a multitude of options available on the market, it's important to understand the factors to consider in order to make an informed choice. In this guide, we'll walk you through the key considerations for selecting the perfect water heater for your home.

Determine Your Hot Water Needs

The first step in choosing the right water heater is to assess your household's hot water needs thoroughly. Taking into account factors such as the number of occupants, daily hot water usage, and peak demand periods will provide valuable insights into the size and capacity requirements for your water heater.

Start by considering the number of people in your household who will be using hot water on a regular basis. A larger family will naturally have higher hot water demands compared to a smaller household. Additionally, take into account the daily activities that require hot water, such as showers, laundry, dishes, and any other tasks that rely on hot water. This assessment will give you a clearer understanding of your average daily hot water usage.

Furthermore, it's crucial to identify the peak demand periods in your household. These are times when multiple hot water outlets may be in use simultaneously, such as in the morning when everyone is getting ready for the day or in the evening when dishes are being washed and showers are being taken. Understanding these peak demand periods is essential in selecting a water heater that can handle the simultaneous hot water needs without experiencing a significant drop in temperature or pressure.

Based on your assessment, you can then determine the size and capacity of the water heater that will effectively meet your needs. Undersized units may struggle to keep up with the demand, resulting in an insufficient hot water supply and potential inconvenience for your household. On the other hand, opting for an oversized water heater can lead to unnecessary energy waste as the unit will continuously heat more water than needed.

To calculate the appropriate size and capacity of the water heater, consider the gallons-per-minute (GPM) flow rate required to meet your household's hot water demands during peak periods. This flow rate will depend on the number and type of hot water fixtures you have, such as showers, faucets, and appliances. By multiplying the average flow rate of each fixture by the number of fixtures that may be used simultaneously, you can estimate the total GPM needed.

Additionally, take into account the recovery rate of the water heater, which is the time it takes for the unit to reheat a specific volume of water after it has been depleted. This is especially important if your household frequently exhausts the hot water supply during peak periods. A higher recovery rate ensures that the water heater can quickly replenish the hot water, minimizing any inconvenience or waiting time.

By carefully assessing your household's hot water needs and considering factors such as the number of occupants, daily hot water usage, peak demand periods, flow rate requirements, and recovery rate, you can make an informed decision on the size and capacity of the water heater that will effectively meet your household's hot water demands. This thoughtful approach will ensure optimal comfort and convenience while avoiding the pitfalls of undersized or oversized units.

Types of Water Heaters

Next, let's explore the different types of water heaters available on the market:

a) Conventional Storage Tank Water Heaters: These are the most common type of water heater found in homes. They store and heat a specific volume of water in an insulated tank, ensuring hot water is readily available whenever needed.

b) Tankless Water Heaters: Unlike storage tank water heaters, tankless units heat water directly as it flows through the device, eliminating the need for a storage tank. They provide hot water on demand and are known for their energy efficiency.

c) Heat Pump Water Heaters: These units use electricity to move heat from the air or ground to heat the water. Heat pump water heaters are highly energy-efficient and can significantly reduce your utility bills over time.

d) Solar Water Heaters: Harnessing the power of the sun, solar water heaters use solar panels to heat water. They are an eco-friendly option that can provide substantial energy savings in the long run.

Fuel Source

Consider the available fuel sources in your home when choosing a water heater. The most common options include electricity, natural gas, propane, and solar power. Each fuel source has its own advantages and considerations, such as availability, cost, and environmental impact. Assessing the fuel source options will help narrow down the type of water heater that best suits your needs.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is an important aspect to consider, as it not only reduces your carbon footprint but also helps save on energy costs. Look for water heaters with high energy factor (EF) ratings. Energy Star-certified models are a reliable indicator of energy efficiency and can provide significant savings over the lifespan of the unit.

Space Availability

Evaluate the space available for your water heater installation. Storage tank water heaters require a dedicated space, whereas tankless and compact units offer flexibility in terms of installation locations. Measure the dimensions of the area to ensure a proper fit, and consider any ventilation requirements for gas-powered units.

Installation and Maintenance

When choosing a water heater for your home, it's crucial to consider the installation and maintenance requirements associated with different options. Understanding these factors will not only ensure a smooth installation process but also help you plan for the long-term care and maintenance of your water heater.

Firstly, evaluate the installation process for each type of water heater you are considering. Some units, such as conventional storage tank water heaters, may require professional installation due to their size, complexity, or specific venting requirements. On the other hand, tankless water heaters or compact units may be more suitable for DIY enthusiasts who are comfortable with plumbing projects. It's essential to assess your own skills and capabilities to determine whether professional installation is necessary or if you can handle it yourself.

Professional installation offers the advantage of expertise and guarantees that the water heater is installed correctly, minimizing the risk of leaks, improper connections, or other potential issues. If you opt for professional installation, it's advisable to hire a reputable plumbing company like Bison Plumbing, which has the knowledge and experience to ensure a seamless and efficient installation process.

In addition to installation, consider the maintenance requirements of the water heater options you are evaluating. Different types of water heaters have varying maintenance needs to keep them running optimally. Conventional storage tank water heaters, for example, typically require regular flushing to remove sediment buildup, which can affect performance and efficiency. Tankless water heaters may require periodic descaling to prevent mineral deposits from clogging the system. Understanding these maintenance tasks and their frequency is important for the longevity and efficient operation of your water heater.

Furthermore, factor in the expected lifespan of the water heater models you are considering. The average lifespan can vary depending on the type, brand, and quality of the unit. Conventional storage tank water heaters typically last around 10-15 years, while tankless and heat pump water heaters have a longer lifespan of 15-20 years or more. Solar water heaters can also have a similar lifespan if well maintained. By considering the expected lifespan, you can make a more informed decision and assess the long-term value of the investment.

Budget Considerations

Last but not least, take your budget into account when selecting a water heater. While it's tempting to opt for the least expensive option, it's important to balance the upfront cost with long-term savings and performance. Consider the operating costs, warranties, and expected lifespan of different models to make an informed decision that aligns with your financial goals.


Choosing the right water heater for your home is a decision that requires careful consideration. By assessing your hot water needs, exploring different types of water heaters, considering the fuel source, prioritizing energy efficiency, evaluating space availability, and factoring in installation and maintenance requirements, you can make a well-informed choice that meets your needs and budget.

At Bison Plumbing, we understand the importance of having a reliable and efficient water heater in your home. Our team of plumbing experts is ready to assist you in selecting and installing the perfect water heater that suits your specific requirements.

If you need guidance or have any questions regarding water heaters, don't hesitate to reach out to us. Our experienced professionals can provide personalized recommendations based on your needs and budget. You can contact us at (580) 618-4660 or email us at [email protected]. We are here to help you make the right choice and ensure your home is equipped with a top-quality water heater.

Investing in the right water heater is a decision that brings long-term benefits in terms of comfort, energy efficiency, and cost savings. Take the time to evaluate your needs and explore the available options. With the proper knowledge and assistance from Bison Plumbing, you can make a confident decision and enjoy the convenience of a reliable and efficient water heating system in your home.

Don't wait any longer. Get in touch with Bison Plumbing today and let us help you choose the right water heater for your home. Our team is committed to providing exceptional service and ensuring your satisfaction. We look forward to assisting you with all your plumbing and water heating needs.

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