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Trying to decide what water heater to purchase can be incredibly confusing. With all the talk of tankless versus tank options, EF ratings, and a wide range of prices and sizes, it can be enough to make you want to embrace taking cold showers for the rest of your life.

But deciding on a water heater doesn’t have to be that much of a challenge. It really boils down to four main things things…

Type of Fuel

Find out what source of fuel your current water heater is using right now. Once you’ve determined that, narrow your search to water heaters that use that same kind of fuel source.

Wondering what your options are? Most people’s water heaters will run on natural gas, propane, oil, or electric. But there are other options too, such as solar water heaters. These use the power of the sun to heat water.


To save energy and, ultimately, your money, you want to get an energy-efficient water heater. Some of the most energy-efficient water heaters available are tankless water heaters. These don’t store hot water—they heat it up as you need it.

Since these water heaters generally produce anywhere from two to five gallons a minute, they aren’t a great solution for bigger households that typically use a lot of hot water all at once.

Look at the energy factor (EF) of any unit you’re considering. The more efficient water heaters have the highest EF.


If you choose too big of a water heater, you’ll be paying more in energy costs than you should. Too small of a tank and you won’t have enough hot water when you need it. Most households use water heaters in the range of 40 to 100 gallons.

A good rule of thumb is that a 40- or up to 60-gallon water heater is adequate for two to three people. If you have a bigger family, such as five or more, you’ll want to be on the higher side—as much as 100 gallons.


Finally, don’t forget the cost when looking at water heaters. Tankless water heaters cost more upfront, but they can save you money long-term because of lower operating costs.

Remember, bigger tanks may produce more hot water, but they are costlier to buy upfront and over time because of the energy associated with running them. That’s why it pays to install the right-sized tank for your needs.

Ask an Expert

When in doubt, ask an expert to help you select one. You can schedule an appointment to see what type of hot water heater is best for your house.

Learn more about some of the hot water tanks offered at Jennings to get started on the selection process.