Things to consider when choosing a water heater

21 October 2021

1. Capacity

Water heaters typically have a capacity of between 40 and 100 gallons. The greater the capacity, the more energy the water heater will use. For this reason it’s recommended you choose a water heater based on your needs, which will depend on the number of people in your household and your consumption. For a 2- or 3-member family with normal requirements, a 40-gallon water heater will suffice. For 4 or 5 people, a 60-gallon heater will be more appropriate. If you consume more than average—which is likely the case if you have a large bathtub, a spray shower or a teenager who enjoys long showers—you may need a larger water heater (about 20 gallons more). Finally, for larger families (6 or more members), you can get a pair of 60-gallon heaters or a single 100-gallon heater. The important thing is not to run out of hot water when you need it.

2. Energy efficiency

It’s a bit harder to compare the energy efficiency of electric water heaters with that of gas, heat pump or solar water heaters. One useful point of comparison is the first hour rating. On most technical data sheets, this rating measures the amount of hot water that can be produced in one hour at times of high consumption. The amount of heat loss is also an efficiency factor. In general, water heaters with larger tanks lose more heat. The heat loss will also be greater if the heater is installed in a cooler place.

3. Quality

In Canada, all water heaters must meet the requirements of the Canadian Standards Association standard CAN/CSA C191, whether low-end or high-end. The difference between them is that low-end models will simply have a double wall filled with foam insulation, while premium models will have more efficient and durable internal coating to reduce heat loss.

4. Warranty

When purchasing a new water heater, make sure you check the warranty. Not only is a good warranty desirable for greater peace of mind, it’s often a sign of better quality. Similarly, poor warranties are a sign of lower quality. A premium appliance should have an 8- to 10-year warranty on parts and against leaks. A standard heater will only be guaranteed for 1 to 6 years and may have some exclusions.

Help choosing a water heater

Plumbers are the ideal professionals to help you choose a water heater. They can help you choose the brand and the capacity as well as install your new appliance.