While not glamorous, your hot water heater is one of the most important features in your home. You depend on it for convenience and comfort, so it's important to purchase the right tankless water heater or hot water storage tank for you and your home. Here's what you need to know to keep the hot water flowing.

Finding the Perfect Water Heater

When it comes to hot water tanks, there are a lot of questions. Should you go with a standard electric water heater or a gas water heater? Could a tankless water heater be your best option? Learn all you need to know with our Water Heater Buying Guide and the only thing getting steamed will be your hot water.

Tankless vs Hot Water Tanks: Which is Best?

What is a Tankless Water Heater & What are the Benefits?

Tankless water heaters don't store hot water, they heat water as it passes through a series of coils in the unit. Since the unit only heats water as you use it, a tankless heater is usually more energy-efficient than a traditional storage tank water heater.

Benefits:

  • Hangs on wall to free up floor space.
  • Endless hot water.
  • Reduces energy consumption by as much as 30 percent.
  • Larger up-front investment.

SHOP ALL TANKLESS WATER HEATERS

What is a Hot Water Tank & What are the Benefits?

Storage tank water heaters are the most common type. These units have an insulated tank where water is heated and stored until it's needed.

Benefits:

  • Economical.
  • Storage options include closet, basement, or garage.
  • 2.5 to 80 gallon capacity range.
  • Efficiency variation between models, brands, and fuel sources.

 

SHOP ALL WATER HEATER TANKS

Tankless Water Heater Frequently Asked Questions

  1. A hot water tap is opened.
  2. The water enters the heater.
  3. The water flow sensor detects the water flow.
  4. The computer automatically ignites the burner.
  5. The water circulates through the heat exchanger (coil).
  6. The heat exchanger instantly heats the water at the designated temperature (it only takes 5 seconds!)
  7. The heater provides you with continuous hot water. No more running out of hot water in the middle of your shower!
  8. When the hot water tap is turned off, the unit shuts down automatically.

 

Owning a tankless water heater will benefit your household in three ways: hot water supply, energy savings, and space savings.

  1. ENDLESS HOT WATER: When properly sized for the job at hand, a tankless water heater will supply a steady flow of hot water at the designated temperature for as long as needed.
  2. UP TO 30% ENERGY SAVINGS: Not only do tankless water heaters provide you with continuous endless hot water, it does it in the most energy-efficient way possible. Traditional tank-type water heaters constantly burn gas in order to maintain the set water temperature in the tank, even when water is not being used. With a tankless water heater, it only heats water when you need it. So when you're at work, sleeping, or on vacation and no one is at home, it's not wasting gas.
  3. SPACE SAVINGS: Get up to 90% space savings with a tankless water heater vs. traditional water heaters. With no tank to steal valuable floor space, a wall-mounted design frees up your basement or utility room for additional storage and versatility.

Condensing tankless water heaters are more efficient than non-condensing units. Water gets preheated with the exhaust heat in a condensing heater, lowering the exhaust temperature and increasing the efficiency.

Condensing models are slightly more efficient, however either model will save you money compared to a traditional water heater. Condensing units do cost more, but as mentioned are more cost effective to install so depending on your vent run you can evaluate which model can better suit your needs.

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                                   Consider the savings of owning your own water heater.


                                   Find out more in-store.

What Are Typical Costs for a Rental Water Heater?

Here are the average costs over a twelve year period:

  • $20/Month x 144 Months (12 years) = $2880
  • $22/Month x 144 Months (12 years) = $3168
  • $24/Month x 144 Months (12 years) =$3456

 

* Based on a monthly rental rate of $22 for a 50 gallon PV water heater over a 12 year period.
** 10 year old water heater meeting minimum water heater efficiencies of 0.58 EF replaced with an ENERGY STAR® Qualified model with a 0.70 EF.

Electric Water Heaters vs. Gas Water Heaters Storage Tanks

Features & Benefits of an Electric Water Heater Storage Tank

  • Uses one or two heating elements to heat water.
  • Less expensive than other types.
  • Variety of high efficiency options available.
  • Size range: 2.5 gal. to 70+ gal.

 

SHOP ALL ELECTRIC WATER HEATERS

Features & Benefits of a Gas Water Heater Storage Tank

  • Uses a burner to heat water.
  • Needs circulating air around it.
  • Do not store combustible materials close by.
  • More expensive than electric water heaters.
  • More energy-efficient than electric water heaters.
  • Size range: 30 gal. to 70+ gal.

 

SHOP ALL GAS WATER HEATERS

Residential Water Heater Tank Sizing Chart

Look at the capacity and space of your hot water tank

Family Size

Demand

Galon Capacity Required

   

Electric
USG/Litres

Gas
USG/Litres

Family of 5+ Icon High 120 / 450 60-75 / 227-228
Regular Low 80 / 284 50 / 189
Family of 3 - 4 Icon High 80 / 284 50-60 / 189 / 227
Regular Low 50 / 182 40 / 151
Family of 2 -3 Icon
High 50 / 182 50 / 189
Regular Low 50 / 182 40 / 151
Family of 2 Icon
High 50 / 182 40 / 151

This chart is for determining the appropriate water heater capacity in response to individual family requirements. Individual use may vary. Sizing is based on 3 gallons per minute (GPM) shower head and standard bathtub. Accommodations for larger capacity and higher recovery water heaters should be made for high demand conditions. Propane models are special order items. Please see store associate for details.
  1. Consider the size of your family and the utilities in your area to choose the best water heater.
  2. Determine the height and width of your chosen water heater to ensure adequate space is available for installation.
  3. Know the dimensions of the space where your water heater resides. Considerations:
    • The unit will need ½ inch clearance on both sides, as well as 12 in. on the front and 18 in. off the floor.
    • If your hot water use increases and you need to upgrade to a larger tank size, it may be necessary to run plumbing to a different area so the new, larger unit will fit. One alternative to running new plumbing is to purchase a lowboy water heater. These units are shorter and wider than a normal water heater, allowing them to hold the same amount of water as their larger counterparts while still fitting in areas with limited headroom.
  4. Consider the size of your family and the utilities in your area to choose the best water heater.
  5. Determine the height and width of your chosen water heater to ensure adequate space is available for installation.
  6. Determine the height and width of your chosen water heater to ensure adequate space is available for installation.
    • The unit will need 1/2 in. clearance on both sides, as well as 12" on the front and 18" off the floor
    • If your hot water use increases and you need to upgrade to a larger tank size, it may be necessary to run plumbing to a different area so the new, larger unit will fit. One alternative to running new plumbing is to purchase a lowboy water heater. These units are shorter and wider than a normal water heater, allowing them to hold the same amount of water as their larger counterparts while still fitting in areas with limited headroom.

 

Maintain Your Water Heater

Follow these simple maintenance procedures every six months to keep your water heater operating safely and efficiently for years.

Maintain Your Tankless Water Heater

Step One

Gather Your Tools

  • Pump (minimum 1GPM).
  • Descaling solution.
  • Hoses and a bucket.
Step two

Water Control Valve Positioning

Units with a cold water bypass (JWT-540H) need to position the internal water valves to allow water to circulate through the heat exchanger. This is done by setting the unit on a high temperature (158 F or above), followed by running a large volume of water through it. If your unit does not have a bypass, turn off the power to the unit and skip to Step Three.

  1. Turn power off to the unit, and then adjust the dipswitches for a high temperature setting (158 F or above). Power unit back on.
  2. Open many hot water taps and place the unit into maximum burn for two minutes.
  3. While the unit is firing and water still running, disconnect the power to the unit.
  4. After power has been disconnected, shut off the hot water taps.
Step three

Waterlines

  1. Isolate the unit by closing the incoming/outgoing water isolation valves C and D.
  2. Relieve pressure in the unit using the PRV.
  3. Drain the unit and connect hoses to the drain ports of the isolation valves: outlet of the pump to cold inlet drain valve B, and from hot outlet drain valve A to the bucket.
Step four

Pump

  1. Fill the bucket with 5 gal. of diluted solution.
  2. Place both the pump with the inlet hose and the drain outlet hose into the bucket.
  3. Open valves A and B.
  4. Turn on the pump and circulate descaling solution through the unit for 45 minutes.
Step five

Flush

Flush the chemicals out of the heat exchanger with fresh water through the PRV.

NOTE: Do NOT allow chemicals into the building's pipes.

  1. Close drain ports A and B.
  2. Open cold inlet valve C and run fresh water through the PRV for 15 min.
  3. Clean the filter after flushing the unit with fresh water.
  4. Once the unit is flushed and cleansed, reopen the hot outlet valve D.
  5. Change the temperature back to the desired setting and reapply power to the unit.

Descaling solutions: virgin white vinegar, food-grade acid.

Maintain Your Hot Water Tank

Step One

Check the Pressure Valve

Both gas and electric water heaters have a safety device called a pressure relief valve. In the event the tank over-pressurizes, the relief valve opens and releases the pressure. If the valve doesn't operate correctly, the tank can over-pressurize and explode.

Note: Always wear gloves, goggles, and other protective clothing while performing maintenance on your water heater.

  1. Turn off the electricity to the water heater or turn the off gas switch to pilot.
  2. Shut off the cold-water inlet to the water heater.
  3. Position the bucket to catch water from the pressure relief valve.
  4. Pull the trip lever on the valve. You should hear a slight rush of air or see some water and vapour exit through the pressure relief valve. If you don't, drain the tank and replace the valve.
Step Two

Flush the Tank

Sediment buildup in the tank can reduce your water heater's energy efficiency and clog your water lines. Avoid these problems and increase the life of your unit by flushing the tank each time you check the pressure relief valve.

  1. Turn off the electricity to the water heater or turn off the gas switch to pilot.
  2. Shut off the cold-water inlet to the water heater.
  3. Connect a garden hose to the tank's drain valve.
  4. Locate the draining end of the hose in an area that won't be adversely affected by the scalding hot water.
  5. Turn on a hot water faucet, open the drain valve, and allow the tank to drain completely. Completely draining the tank ensures that you've removed all of the sediment possible.
  6. Close the tank drain valve, disconnect the valve, and turn off the hot water faucet.
  7. Open all the hot-water spigots in the house, and turn on the cold-water inlet to the tank.
  8. Close each hot-water spigot when a continuous stream of water begins to flow from it. After all the spigots are closed, turn on the electricity to the water heater, or turn the gas switch to run.
Step Three

Lighting the Pilot - Gas

  1. Refer to re-lighting procedure located on the heater or refer to the manual included with the heater.
  2. Once the re-lit gas water heater has started up, it will produce condensation. You may hear dripping sounds or see a small puddle of water in the drain pan. Condensation is normal and will go away once the water heater has reached its normal operating temperature.

Reconnecting to Electric Power - Electric

  1. The most common problem with electric water heaters is turning the power on before the tank is completely full of water. If this happens, the upper heating element will burn out, and you’ll have no hot water (until the upper element is replaced). Once you've installed the water heater, open a hot-water faucet all the way and let the hot water run for three minutes. This will ensure all of the air has been removed and the tank is completely full of water.
  2. If you don't have hot water after two hours, check to make sure the unit is getting the correct voltage. See the unit’s label for power requirements. No electric power or the wrong voltage causes many electric water heater problems. An electrician may be needed to solve wiring/power problems.
Step Four

Leaks & Drips

  1. Most leaks are caused by faulty water supply connections. Use good materials and proper techniques and check your work carefully. Compression fittings are easier to use for DIYers than soldering copper pipes.
  2. Drips from the temperature and pressure (T&P) relief valve discharge pipe usually mean a thermal expansion tank is needed.

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