What You Should Know When Shopping for a Water Heater

(ARA) – How’s your relationship with your household appliances? You open your refrigerator every day and run the dishwasher, clothes washer and dryer several times each week.

But how often do you think about your water heater? You use it every day, usually multiple times a day. When was the last time you thought about how much energy it consumes or how well it’s doing its job?

Heating water can account for 14 to 25 percent of the total energy consumed in your home, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Choosing the right water heater for your home and regularly maintaining it can help reduce your energy bills. What’s more, you can actually get a tax break for choosing an energy-efficient water heater.

Under the new American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, if you install a natural gas or propane water heater with an Energy Factor (EF) rating of at least .82, or 90 percent thermal efficiency, you could qualify for a tax credit of up to 30 percent of the total cost of installing the heater, including labor, up to a maximum of $1,500. In addition to the potential tax savings, many utility companies now offer rebates to homeowners who install new, energy-efficient water heaters.

So how do you choose the right water heater for your home? Here are some tips:

The Department of Energy advises you to consider several factors, including the type of fuel available to your home (gas, oil or electric), the size of your home, the energy efficiency rating of the water heater you’re considering, and the annual operating costs of different types of water heaters. The size water heater you need will vary based on the size of your home, how much use you anticipate it will get and the type of heater you’re considering.

It’s important to know the differences between standard water heaters and high-efficiency models. For example, the Vertex high-efficiency water heater, produced by A. O. Smith, replaces the straight exhaust pipe found in standard gas models with an innovative helical coil inside the tank. Conventional heaters lose roughly 25 percent of their energy through the exhaust. Tankless heaters don’t fare much better, clocking efficiency levels of just 80 to 84 percent. The Vertex’s special design boosts efficiency to 96 percent, saving homeowners money on their gas bill and providing more hot water faster than conventional models.

Even if your water heater is currently working, if it’s an older, inefficient model, you could reap real cost benefits by replacing it with a more energy-efficient one. The average lifespan of a water heater is 12 to 14 years. If yours is approaching the end of its usable life, it’s a good idea to research your options and decide on a proactive replacement. If you find yourself without a functioning water heater and no plan for replacing it, you’ll be more likely to go for the quickest, cheapest option available – which might not be the best choice for your needs.

Five categories of water heater are now Energy Star rated, including high-performance gas storage, whole-home gas tankless, advanced drop-in or integrated heat pump, solar and gas condensing. For each type of water heater, the Energy Star rating can help you determine just how energy efficient a model is.

Finally, be aware that opting for energy efficiency doesn’t mean you’ll have to sacrifice performance in terms of how much hot water you’ll get and how quickly. In fact, modern energy-efficient heaters like the Vertex can produce more hot water, more quickly and for less money than other models of comparable size. The enhanced performance fits well into Americans’ busy lifestyles with high demand for hot water.

To learn more about A. O. Smith’s Vertex water heaters, visit www.hotwater.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent



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