Your Fuel Options
Before you make any purchase of water heaters or even compare the various options, you will need to think about fuel first. Most homes use one of three options in their current systems. This includes electric, natural gas or propane gas. Any of these can be a good option for you. However, for those who want to save bigger, it may be possible to use a solar or geothermal option too. If you plan to switch sources of fuel, be sure to factor in the cost of making such a switch.
The next consideration in selecting a heater is to consider your family size and usage needs. In most cases, the system will have a specific chart on it to tell you what size it can handle. For example, if you have five or more people in your home, you should have an 80-gallon tank minimum to ensure there is plenty available. For those with three or four people, the recommendation is for a 50-gallon tank. Those with two or three need 40-gallons minimum.
To Tank or Not to Tank
The next question to consider is whether you will need an actual tank for your system. Many people are making the switch to a tankless option. These will heat water on demand rather than holding 80 gallons of water and maintaining that temperature while it is not in use. Be sure to consider the various elements of such a purchase, including the installation costs and limitations you may have. You may also want to consider the energy efficiency of any model you select to be sure it is worth the investment in the long term.