If you’re a homeowner, at some point, you’re going to have to replace your water heater. Since the lifespan of a water heater is between 8-15 years, you’ll have to replace yours someday. And when that day comes, there are a few different types of water heaters that you can choose from: gas, electric or tankless. Here are the basics on the advantages, disadvantages and their differences.
Gas Water Heater
Though these types of water heaters cost more than electric upfront, they will cost less to operate due to the cost of natural gas. Look for a model that doesn’t use a continuously burning pilot light for the most cost efficient heater. Another perk with having a natural gas line to your heater, makes it more reliable. In the event of a power outage, you’ll still have access to hot water, unlike an electric water heater that needs electricity to operate. When a water tank runs out of hot water, a gas heater heats up a fresh tank of water faster than an electric heater.
Electric Water Heater
These are a less costly option for purchasing, but there will be higher monthly costs with the service for electric rather than natural gas. Electric water heaters are safer than gas water heaters because with the lack of an open flame underneath a gas unit, there is less risk of fire.
An electric water heater will also be easier to use and be smaller in size than a gas heater. Electric water heaters do have a slower recovery rate. If you use up all your hot water in the tank, it’s going to take a lot longer to heat up the fresh water into the tank. Think about your family and household needs, if you use lots of hot water at the same times of day, then maybe gas is a better option.
As far as maintenance goes, both gas and electric are fairly easy to maintain. To help lengthen the tank’s lifespan, both types should be flushed regularly to stop sediment from building up on the bottom of the tank. Though, with a gas heater, the lines should be inspected periodically to prevent gas leaks.
Tankless Water Heater
Upgrading to a tankless water heater is a value to any home. These units will last longer, offer endless hot water, and use less energy that can reduce utility bills. Without the need for a giant tank of water, tankless water heaters take up less space than other water heaters, opening up more room in your utility space. These units look neater than a hot water tank, so this could be a benefit if your hot water heater is visible in a high traffic area. On-demand heaters provide a continuous supply of hot water as it’s needed, eliminating the need to keep up to 60 gallons of water hot all the time. Tankless water heaters that operate with natural gas are more efficient than tankless electric heaters because they can provide more gallons per minute of hot water. If you’re going tankless, gas is better than electric. The disadvantage of a tankless is that it is more expensive than regular gas or electric water heaters. Tankless water heaters also require much less maintenance. Depending on the quality of your water supply it will need maintenance every 4-5 years.
Sometimes our homes are not designed or decorated exactly as we’d like them to be. Things can sometimes be put in an area of the home that, for one reason or another, is in plain view. This can be quite deterring for those who may want to make a beautiful space for their family.
So what do you do with an aesthetically out-of-place water heater? One option is to replace it with a tankless water heater that takes up a lot less space, and can be slightly more attractive. And if you want to go one further, you can find some tankless water heater pipe covers on the market to help hide those unsightly pipes.
But if you’d like a little less costly solution, there are lots of DIY options to consider. Things like building cabinets or closets with new or recycled materials of old shutters or scrap wood, hanging curtains from curved track or curtain rods, or setting up a basic room divider.
If you want to try your hand at this DIY divider made out of old shutter doors, check out this tutorial on how to make it: https://oldhighwaycottage.com/solution-hiding-ugly-water-heater/
You can also consider making your design less of a feature to the room, by concealing the covering of your choice. You can paint the covering the same color of the rest of the room, blending it into the room. There are some tutorials online on how to construct electric water heater covers like this one that makes it feel like part of the constructed room: https://www.woodshopdiaries.com/hide-ugly-water-heater/
There are some things to consider when choosing a covering. Make sure that there is room around the tank, and that there is an easy way to access it. You don’t want to wall it up with drywall or seal it in another way. Water heaters need to be accessible if an issue happens to arise, like water leakage, if the pilot light goes out, or other general maintenance issues. If you have to call a plumber for an issue, you want to make sure they can get to your water heater and have space to do their work. Also, consider when placing these things around a gas water heater to be cautious of proximity and the materials you use, as it can be a fire hazard. First and foremost, you want to have a safe home!
Now get to it. It can be satisfying to create a more beautiful space, no matter what style you choose to conceal your water heater.
At Tony's Plumbing & Heating, we offer outstanding residential and commercial plumbing and heating services in the East Twin Cities metro. With our blog, we hope to bring you useful tips and tricks for ever day life!