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What to Look for in a Water Heater

by Joan Riley, Home Product Writer for The House Designers®

The old days of basic appliances are long gone! You’ve probably noticed this in the kitchen and laundry room, but technology has expanded to all corners of the house. Have you explored what’s new in hot water recently? There are so many things to take into account when selecting a hot water heater—here’s what you should know!

Rheem ProTerra Plug-in Heat Pump Water Heater with HydroBoost

The highly efficient Rheem® ProTerra® Plug-in Heat Pump Water Heater with HydroBoost™ makes indoor installs and gas heater replacements easy because it only needs a regular 120V outlet. It offers zero emissions operation and uses less electricity than a 100-Watt incandescent light bulb!

Energy Efficiency

Did you know that water heating accounts for about 20% of the energy used in the whole house? That’s a significant expense, and it doesn’t have to be that high. Older water heaters are notoriously inefficient due to their age and because technology continues to innovate, so anything you purchase today will be significantly more efficient than models of the past. Of course, not all new water heaters are created equal—shop around and you’ll find a variety of options.

Some of today’s most efficient water heaters are tankless gas models. They only pull a small amount of electricity because natural gas or propane is used to do the heating, and because they only heat on demand, they don’t waste energy keeping a whole tank hot at all times. If you prefer an all-electric water heater, you’ll need to look into tank models because tankless ones pull a lot of electricity all at once—something that often requires you to update your home’s or even neighborhood’s electrical system. But don’t worry—there are incredibly efficient tank water heaters! Rather than creating all their heat through the power outlet, they use heat pumps to gather and concentrate heat from their surroundings. This means they can do more with a lot less electricity and without any emissions!

No matter the type, you’ll find efficient water heaters in a variety of sizes to match different household needs. Make sure to select the right capacity—it will give you the most bang for your energy buck.

Rheem IKONIC Condensing Tankless Water Heater

Rheem® IKONIC™ Condensing Tankless Water Heaters can be installed in a closet, laundry room, garage, or even outside. Despite their compact size, they’re designed to maximize hot water and deliver it continuously.

Flexible Installation

Depending on the specifics of your home and the type of water heater you have in mind, you probably have an idea of where it will be installed. Did you know that today’s models give you more options? You may decide to choose somewhere different!

Tankless water heaters are smaller than tank models, have a simple box shape, and typically mount on a wall. You’ll regularly find them in laundry rooms, garages, basements, and closets, and even on exterior walls in warmer climates like the South. So long as you have the right hookups in an accessible location, you can place a tankless heater practically wherever you please.

Tank water heaters need to be inside, but they also offer more flexibility these days. Fully electric models require their own dedicated 240V outlets because of how much energy they pull, so most homes have one place set up for them—the basement or garage in many cases, or an interior closet in the absence of these. Gas tank heaters get by with a regular 120V outlet, so they have been the natural choice when it makes more sense to rely on gas than upgrade to higher voltage. Today’s new heat pump water heaters offer the best of both worlds; they only need a 120V outlet—and no gas hookup! This makes them perfect for new construction and renovations of all kinds.

Rheem EcoNet app

The EcoNet® app lets you communicate with your water heater—like adjusting the temperature and putting it on away mode for vacations—and your water heater to keep you in the loop with energy use charts, alerts, and diagnostics to expedite any service it may need.

Convenient Features & Functionality

The water heater may seem like a bit of a background appliance that you’re only aware of when something goes wrong, but it shouldn’t be. Like a car can give you warning lights and performance indicators on the dash, so can your water heater! With app connectivity, you can stay on top of how it’s working, make adjustments to the temperature remotely, and get notified promptly of any issues. Going on vacation? Let it know so you can minimize your utilities during that time. Connected water heaters also communicate with plumbers to make repairs quicker, which saves you time and money. No wonder so many homeowners opt for smart appliances!

Beyond app-based capabilities, many modern water heaters have their own built-in moisture sensors and off switches to detect and stem leaks as soon as they start. This virtually eliminates the biggest headache a water heater can cause a homeowner, and it just goes to show how far technology has come. So, don’t assume anything—keep an eye out for and compare all the latest features when you shop.

Whatever sort of water heater you’d like, take a look at what Rheem® has to offer! With plenty of gas, electric, and hybrid electric heat pump water heaters in their lineup, you’re sure to find the perfect solution for your home. Many of them are four or five times as efficient as standard models of the same capacity, so you can look forward to massive savings over the years!