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Did you know that water heating is the second largest expense in your home, accounting for 14 – 18 percent of your utility bills?

Choosing a new water heater is an important decision and according to energy.gov one that you’ll only have to make once every 10 or 15 years. Due to the length of time between making water heater purchases it’s smart to do your research before you purchase a new water heater and find the brand and type that suits your family’s needs.

The different types of water heaters are:

  • Solar water heater. This type of heater warms from outside panels and have the option of heating the water further from an inside thermostat. Although they cost more initially they are more cost effective over the life of the water heater. They can reduce the cost of heating your water from 50% to 80%. The solar water heater falls into two categories. 1) Active. This is where a pump is used to transfer the heat from the solar panel to the heater. 2) Passive. This allows the water to circulate naturally.
  • Tankless water heater. The tankless heater is also known as demand or instantaneous water heaters. It can save money because it only heats water on an as needed basis. The tankless heater costs more initially but can save you money on energy costs plus they can up to 20 plus years.
  • Storage water heater. This type of water heater is the most commonly used one. In fact it’s known as the conventional water heater. The cost of using one is higher because the tank heats the water consistently even when no one is using hot water.
  • Electric heat pump water heaters. These heaters work most efficiently in warmer climates because they pull heat from the air, ground or an outside water source to heat the water. They are best if used in a damp basement because they will dehumidify the air. It can be purchased either as a stand-alone system or one used with a conventional system.

Some tips for optimal efficiency are; 1) if you purchase a conventional system make sure it has at least 1 ½ inches of insulation; 2) if possible do not place your water heater in a non-heated garage, basement or crawl space; and 3) if you have opted for the electric storage water heater ensure that the bottom of the tank is insulated. The insulation can be placed at the time of installation.

When choosing a hot water system for your home and family it’s important to take many factors in mind:

  • Hot water usage
  • Power source availability
  • Initial cost compared to overall lifetime cost
  • Hiring a licensed plumbing contractor for installation of your water heater
  • The climate you live in

The Energy.gov website is a great resource for sizing a new water heater for your Northern Virginia home. Take the time to do your research and talk to a reputable and licensed plumbing contractor, like M.E. Flow,…you’ll save money in the long run. M.E Flow installs and replaces water heaters in Northern Virginia with office locations in Alexandria, Leesburg, and Winchester we always have a plumber near by.