I came across these purchasing tips from Energy Star when reading about high efficiency heating tips for the home. Here is what Energy Star suggests when replacing your gas water heater:
Plan ahead if you can. By waiting until your current water heater fails, you will leave little time to research and select a qualified ENERGY STAR gas storage model. To make your life easier, try to have a new one installed before it's an emergency.
Check product availability. Find out what qualified models are available on the market by viewing the Energy Star product list (visit energystar.gov)
Decide what size you need. If your current water heater meets your needs most of the time, you can probably replace it with one the same size. You can determine the capacity or volume (measured in gallons) of your existing water heater by looking at the nameplate or the yellow Energy Guide sticker. When evaluating new models you should also look at the first-hour rating to see how much hot water the model can deliver during a busy hour. You may want to purchase a larger capacity unit, or one with a higher first-hour rating, if you have added or are planning to add more occupants to your household or are installing an additional shower, faucet, dishwasher, or washer that will be in frequent use. A contractor or retail salesperson can help you decide if a larger model is necessary.
Get a quote from a contractor or retailer. You may want to check a manufacturer or retailer's Web site to get a general idea of cost, but you will eventually need an installer to come to your home and give you a customized price. The installer should confirm the optimal size for you home. When requesting a quote, remember to:
- Request cost estimates in writing.
- Ask for references.
- Check the company with your local Better Business Bureau.
- See if the company will obtain a local permit if necessary and understands local residential building codes.
Search for rebates. You may be able to put some extra money in your pocket by taking advantage of rebates.
Don't forget to consider HTP when making your next high efficiency heating purchase!