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Selecting the Best Water Heater for Your Needs

Are you searching for a new water heater? Buying one can be intimidating because there are too many features to understand and options to consider. Reach out to us at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing® of Rosenberg, and our team of skilled plumbers in Richmond will help you select the most suitable water heater that addresses your needs and is within your budget. In the meanwhile, read our guide for some quick information.

Fuel Source

What fuel type did your previous water heater operate on? According to plumbers in Richmond, if you want to avoid upgrade costs, you should look for models that run on the same fuel type.


An electrical water heater heats water using one or more heating elements and is often an affordable choice, according to professional plumbers in Richmond. Many of the units available offer high efficiency. For tank based water heaters, the capacity ranges between 28 gallons and 100 gallons.


A propane or gas water heater makes use of a burner for increasing water temperature. The unit must be installed in a place where air can easily circulate around it. According to our plumbers in Richmond, a gas water heater is more expensive than its electric counterpart. Its size ranges from 30 gallons to 100 gallons.


A hybrid water heater takes energy from the air for heating water. The models available come with their own storage tank, but the heating module can also be integrated with an existing talk. Hybrid water heaters often lower your energy bills, and come in a size range that is between 50 gallons and 80 gallons.

Unit Types

Water heaters can be divided into the following types. According to plumbers in Richmond, when choosing one of these, consider your family size and daily water usage.

Storage Tank Water Heater

According to many plumbers in Richmond, the tank based water heater is the most common in our city. The unit comprises an insulated tank which heats and stores water until required. A tank based water heater can operate using electricity, natural gas and liquid propane or LP. The last two of these consume less energy and thus, their operational costs are lower compared to electric units of the same capacity.

Our plumbers in Richmond suggest looking at the energy efficiency ratings and yearly operating costs before buying a tank based water heater. Both these should be specified on the unit’s labels and in the instructions manual.

Tankless Water Heater

A tankless water heater, also referred to as an on-demand water heater, does not store any heated water. Instead, water is heated as soon as the faucet is turned on. Since energy is consumed only when hot water is required, a tankless water heater is a more energy efficient choice than the traditional model. But then this type of water heater can only provide a limited flow rate if you want to use hot water. For most models, this is around 3.5 gallons per minutes.

Like storage based water heaters, tankless water heaters are also available in electric, natural gas and LP models.

Point-of-Use Water Heater

A point-of-use or utility water heater comprises a small tank, and is usually preferred for shops, garages, outbuildings and other small spaces. Size ranges from around 2.5 gallons to 10 gallons. Utility water heaters may also be used for secondary bathrooms that are located away from the main water in your home.


If the available space in your home cannot accommodate a standard water heater, then our plumbers in Richmond suggest using any of the following alternatives. These units provide nearly the same performance level, and can work with electric, gas and LP.


A short or lowboy water heater has a shorter height and a greater width as compared to a typical water heater. This model can hold nearly the same quantity of water and can easily be installed in areas where there isn’t enough headroom like a crawlspace or the space under a cabinet. Generally, the height of these units is between 30 inches and 49 inches, and the average capacity is around 50 gallons.


The height of a tall water heater is greater than the standard model. Featuring a tank big enough to hold around 100 gallons, these water heaters are preferred in spaces where there aren’t any height limitations like a garage or basement.

Advanced Features

If budget is not a concern, you may want to look for units that offer the following advanced features Plumbers in Richmond suggest the following features:

Dry Fire Protection

This is only available with electric water heaters. This feature prevents the upper element from damaging if there isn’t enough water in the tank.

Energy Star

A water heater with the Energy Star label is an efficient choice, ascertains lower utility bills and protects the environment through its eco-friendly design and operating principles.

The unit for measuring water heater efficiency is energy factor (EF). The greater this rating, the more efficient the model is.  Obviously, this means increased upfront costs, but remember that you’re also saving money in the long run.

Intuitive Technology

According to our plumbers in Richmond, some modern water heaters in the market can adjust temperature and other operational parameters according to your needs. These units are designed to identify and learn usage patterns and make adjustments accordingly. Advantages include improved performance, better energy efficiency and greater durability.


A water heater that features Wi-Fi technology allows you to change the temperature remotely, lowering your energy bills. The unit may also send an alert if there is limited hot water.

Still not sure which type of water heater to select? Get in touch with our expert team of plumbers in Richmond, and we’ll help you make a decision. Call us today.