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How to Find Your New Water Heater

Cold showers? Weird popping noises? Rusty water? Odds are you might need a new water heater. When it comes to water heaters, you have many options to choose from. Do you need a bigger tank? How about even a tankless option? Let us help you determine your new water heater for reliable hot water.

When it's Time for a New Water Heater


Most water heaters can last up to 10-15 years (or even 20 years for a tankless option) but can start to degrade in less time than that. You might need to replace your water heater if:

  • You are not getting any hot water- this could mean a faulty heating element. Average water temperatures should be set and maintained around 120-140 degrees.
  • You hear the ominous popping noises- minerals from water get built up overtime and create air bubbles that lead to popping.
  • You see leaking from your unit- your pipes or fittings may be old.
  • You have water coming out of the tap that is not clear- this could indicate a heating rod is about to go out.

Keep in mind that some of these issues can be fixed if your water heater is not that old, but problems left too long or problems in old units may be harder to fix.

Selecting a New Water Heater


The National Appliance and Energy Conservation Act (NAECA), energy codes from the Department of Energy, changed their codes for residential water heaters manufactured as of April 16, 2015 to improve R-values of the insulation around the tanks. This resulted in new water heaters being taller and wider. This change affected 30-, 40-, and 50-gallon model water heaters.

Installation issues may occur when upgrading your water heater as sizes have increased up to 15%. Your new water heater may not fit if your space is just big enough for your old one. If you need to work within the space you have, a smaller capacity tank may be your best option or even a different type of water heater. However, if your family is growing or you find yourself needing more hot water in general, consider moving up to a larger size to accommodate more hot water usage.

Types of Water Heaters


A big first item to consider is how your water will be heated. Gas? Electric? Solar? Before purchasing, you should consider initial set up costs, yearly maintenance, and energy savings. Let’s go over your different options:

  • Gas and electric tank water heaters are your more standard options. Tank water heaters keep water at a constant temperature through heating elements like rods in the tank (electric) or by burners (gas, natural or propane). The hot water rises to the top and then is transported out of the tank to wherever you need it. When looking at these options, look for the energy efficiency rating and their recovery rate. The higher the rating the more efficient and more potential savings. Plus, the better recovery rate the more hot water per hour. These types of water heaters have a lower upfront cost but may not be as energy efficient as other models.
    • Condensing gas heaters are similar to regular gas heaters with a burner and a chimney for exhaust but will utilize or recycle the heat from the exhaust to make more hot water.
    • Electric hybrids take heat from their surrounding environment to heat the water with electric coils for backup. These water heaters are a great option if you can place them in a heated garage or other heated location.
  • Tankless water heaters use a heat exchanger that transfers heat to hot water through elements like electric coils without a big tank and usually fit nicely on a wall. Tankless water heaters offer a nearly endless supply of hot water since they heat two to five gallons of water very quickly as you need it and have point-of-use and whole-house options based on your needs. Instead of looking at the efficiency rating and recovery rate, you will need the total flow rate of all your water sources (sinks, tubs, showers) and your average ground water temperature. This will give you your GPM (gallons per minute) and using the rise from groundwater to how hot you like your water will help you determine which system is best for you. Tankless water heaters are generally low-maintenance and will save you money on your utility bill, but generally have high upfront costs.
  • Solar water heaters are heated by solar panels that can be installed in your yard or on your roof. There are two different kinds: active and passive. Active solar water heaters use a pump system to keep water flowing and will either pump hot water into a storage tank or will pump it through a heat exchanger with antifreeze. Passive solar water heaters move water by gravity, or the water will move to your pipes when the hot water has risen to the top from being heated at the bottom. Solar water heaters have high upfront costs, and you will need a backup system for nighttime and when you have overcast weather but are a good environmentally friendly option with minimal maintenance.

Maintaining Your New Water Heater


After you have chosen and installed your new water heater (check out our tips for old water heater disposal), proper maintenance is key to keeping it working smoothly for years to come.

3 Tips to Help Maintain Your New Water Heater

  1. Drain your water heater once a year to keep it clear of sediment to avoid those popping noises down the line. Even tankless water heaters will need to be drained.
  2. Annually test your pressure valve release. Much like the pressure release on your pressure cooker, the valve on your water heater releases built up pressure from the tank. This adds safety to your tank.
  3. For a more efficient water heater, consider adding these accessories:
    1. Adding a water shut-off valve is useful in a water emergency to stop water flowing in case of a leak.
    2. Adding a pan and drain line to a water heater that is on a second floor will help keep water from leaking on carpet or worse-- onto the floor below.
    3. A water heater blanket will help keep the tank insulated against the cold and keep it working more efficiently.

McCoy's Has Your Next Water Heater


When it’s time to upgrade, McCoy’s carries water heaters that offer a wide selection from large tank options to tankless ones. We even offer selfcleaning tank options with great warranties. Need some help in purchasing your new water heater? Head over to your local McCoy’s where we will be happy to help you select your new water heater and deliver it for you, too! Check your store for availability. Product selection varies by store.