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What Type of Water Heater Do You Need? A Water Heater Buying Guide

 |  Blog, Plumbing

Because there are many types of water heaters, the process of picking the right option for a home can be a bit challenging. You’ll have to consider each unit’s storage capacity, heating capabilities, temperature settings, and more. If this sounds challenging, use this water heater buying guide. It can help you select a proper water heater that suits your needs and budget.

Traditional Water Heater

This is a basic water heater for a home that has a few residents. A typical standard water heater can hold 30 to 80 gallons of water, and it uses gas, propane or electricity as a power source.

Since a traditional water heater produces heat around the clock, it’s not the best heating solution for an energy-efficient home. The problem is that this water heater continues to use energy while everyone is sleeping or away from home.

If you want to buy a conventional water heater, you’ll have two options. For a home that has up to two residents, a small water heater is a great choice. A large water heater works best in a big house that has multiple bathrooms.

Maintenance for a Traditional Water Heater

Inside a conventional water heater, minerals and sediment can build up on the walls. To eliminate these contaminants, you’ll have to drain and flush the tank twice a year.

A conventional water heater has an important part called the pressure relief valve. Occasionally, you’ll need to check it to ensure that it’s in optimum condition.

TAnkless Water Heater

Many people invest in tankless water heaters because they heat up water strategically. Instead of constantly heating gallons of water throughout the day and night, a tankless unit provides hot water only when it’s needed.

This type of water heater has a slow flow rate. This means that it can only distribute about two to five gallons of hot water every minute. In a typical home, two to five gallons isn’t enough water, so if you want to take a hot shower while running your dishwater, you may need to pick another water heater because a tankless unit can’t multitask.

Because a tankless water heater is compact, you could easily place more than one in your home. Thanks to the compact design, these water heaters fit snugly in different spaces, so you’ll have no problems setting them up with multiple fixtures and appliances.

Overall, to use a tankless water heater, you may need to buy at least two of them to supply hot water to sinks, showers, and other fixtures. If you buy several units, you won’t have to spend a lot of cash to maintain them since all tankless water heaters have hardware that performs efficiently for up to 20 years.

Maintenance for a Tankless Water Heater

This water heater has advanced components, so you must let a licensed plumber perform maintenance once a year. During the maintenance process, the plumber will basically flush out the unit to get rid of mineral deposits.

Heat Pump Water Heater

A heat pump water heater distributes hot water to a home using electricity. It doesn’t operate like a regular water heater because it lacks hardware that produces direct heat. As a result, a heat pump unit is more energy-efficient than a traditional water heater.

To use a heat pump water heater effectively, you’ll need a great home heating system. This type of water heater doesn’t function efficiently in a very cold environment.

Maintenance for a Heat Pump Water Heater

Heat pump water heater maintenance involves several steps. During the first phase, you’ll have to disconnect and inspect the unit. After all wires are detached, you’ll need to test the temperature relief valve, which is a part that reduces pressure in the tank when the water temperature climbs too high. You may also need to perform a mini-flush to eliminate sediment that has built up in the water heater. The sediment is basically invisible; however, you’ll have to remove it because it contains contaminants that can corrode the water heater.

Solar Water Heater

Solar water heaters are very cost-effective, and they operate quite well in a variety of climates. Many solar water heater brands make active systems and passive systems. If you visit a supply store, you can pick one of the following solar water heater systems.

  • An active direct circulation water heater: A direct circulation solar water heater pumps hot water throughout a home. If your home is built in a climate that rarely gets icy weather, this particular water heater is a solid choice.
  • An indirect circulation water heater: This unit provides hot water by moving non-freezing liquid inside of a heat exchanger and several collectors. These components heat up the water as it enters a home.
  • A passive integral collector system: Integral collector solar systems are designed for people who use a lot of hot water during the day and in the evening. They don’t function well in a neighborhood where the temperature can drop below freezing.
  • A passive thermosyphon system: In a thermosyphon solar water heater, there are components that manage temperatures in a strategic way. As water travels through the system, cool water sinks while warm water rises.

Solar Water Heater Maintenance

Passive solar water heater units don’t need a lot of maintenance. However, active units will require some maintenance routines. You can develop a routine by reviewing the maintenance section in the solar water heater’s owner manual.


So, we’ve gone through some of the various types of water heaters and what you can expect with them in terms of performance and maintenance. Now, it’s time to get out there and buy one! If you’re still struggling on which water heater would be best for your household, consider reaching out to a water heater installation company or to plumbing specialists in your area!