It may be time to replace your current water heater. If you’ve started to notice that the water doesn’t stay hot as long as it used to or it’s simply coming out lukewarm, then chances are good that your outdated unit is ready for a trip to the junk yard. Luckily, newer units come with all kinds of modern upgrades like safety features (automatic shut-offs) and greater energy efficiency to lower your electric or gas bill. But before you install a new electric hot water tank, there are a few things you should know. Here are some points to consider.
- Find out what you currently have. It’s not that you can’t install an electric water tank if you currently have gas, but there will be extra steps involved. For one thing you’ll have to get a plumber or other professional out to cap off the gas line. This isn’t a big deal since you need a plumber to install your new water tank and haul the old one away in any event. But you might also need an electrician on hand to ensure that you have an adequate power source nearby to plug your new unit into. Many water heaters are place in out-of-the-way locations like closets, basements, and garages, so this could end up costing you more if a power line has to be run to where your water heater resides. The point is, it’s good to have this information ahead of time. You don’t want to have your new electric water heater installed only to discover that you can’t get it up and running.
- Comparison shop. If we’re being honest, most of us don’t know the first thing about water heaters, so selecting one can be difficult, to say the least. However, there are a few things you’ll want to consider. Cost is probably at the top of your list, but you should also pause to address issues like BTUs, or the amount of energy the unit draws, and warranty. Both could end up saving you money down the line although they will cost you a little more up front. Capacity (number of gallons) is also a concern. If the demand in your household means that the last person in the shower each morning ends up with cold water, then perhaps it’s time for an upgrade if you have the space to house a larger tank. And you may want to think about purchasing American-made. They are more expensive but plumbers and homeowners alike swear they last longer.
- Consider your region. Believe it or not, where you live can have an impact on how you install your water heater. For example, some regions are prone to flooding, in which case you may want to keep your water heater out of the basement and install it on a platform of some sort. Other regions suffer from earthquakes, meaning flexible pipes and fittings are a lot safer to install on your water heater than rigid products. This is something your plumber should know, but just in case, you might want to ask how such occurrences could affect your tank and if you need to take any extra steps to account for natural disasters in your area.
- Tankless water heaters. Before you buy your electric hot water tank, you might want to consider another electric option that requires no tank at all. Plenty of eco-friendly households have already discovered the many benefits of installing a tankless water heater. It resides on the outside of the house, clearing the space where your water heater might have gone. But the bigger advantage for many homeowners is that it heats water on demand. Unlike a tank, which keeps water hot day and night, this system heats water only as needed, saving a ton of energy (and significantly lowering your utility bill) in the process. Whether you’re going green or you just like the greenbacks, this is one option you shouldn’t discount.
- Hire a pro. You may have the skill, the tools, and the drive to install your own water heater. And once you’ve perused the wares at a national tank outlet near you and selected your unit, you may be gung-ho to install the tank on your own. However, there are a couple of reasons you might want to hire a pro to do it for you. For one thing, it’s a big, messy job that could involve scalding water, welding, and of course, electricity. In short, it could be hazardous to your health. In addition, any mistakes you make could cost you down the line, especially if you cause a leak or void the warranty. So think about hiring a professional to do the dirty work for you and take on the liability.