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What model's right for you?

​Two things to consider when buying a new natural gas water heater are efficiency and type. If the old water heater you’re replacing is a storage tank and more than 10 years old, it’s probably only between 50 and 55 per cent efficient. Today you have a lot more options, both in efficiency and water heater type.

Efficiency

Natural gas water heater efficiency is measured by an energy factor (EF) or thermal efficiency (TE) rating. The higher the rating, the more efficient the water heater. ENERGY STAR® water heaters are the most efficient models.

Water heater type

Whether you choose a storage tank, a hybrid or a tankless natural gas water heater, there’s a water heater—and a rebate—right for you.

High-efficiency storage tank

Efficiency: good
Rebate: $200
Technical details: with an EF between 0.67 and 0.70, these storage tanks are non-condensing, meaning some heat will be lost through the flue gases exhausted to the outdoors.

Pros:

  • most efficient non-condensing gas storage tank water heater
  • can handle multiple, simultaneous demands for hot water
  • quick recovery means there’s less chance of running out of hot water (some units can heat up to five gallons per minute)
  • less expensive than tankless models to install

Cons:

  • an electrical outlet is required
  • an electrical plug is required
  • life expectancy is less than tankless models

Average installed cost: $1,300 to $1,600
Life expectancy: 10 - 13 years
Recommended maintenance: annually

High-efficiency tankless

Efficiency: excellent
Rebate: $400
Technical details: tankless water heaters don’t store water. Instead, they heat it as you need it. ENERGY STAR non-condensing tankless water heaters are considered high efficiency as they have an EF between 0.82 and 0.89. But as they are non-condensing, some heat is lost from the exhausted flue gases.

Pros:

  • take up less space than a standard storage tank, freeing up valuable square footage
  • can be wall-mounted
  • as they are non-condensing, a household drain is not required

Cons:

  • most models won't work during a power outage
  • since water is heated only when needed, there is up to a 10 second delay for the hot water to reach the tap after turning oit on

Average installed cost:installed cost: $2,800 to $3,500
Life expectancy: approximately 20 years
Recommended maintenance: annually to ensure maximum life expectancy

Ultimate high-efficiency tankless

Efficiency: ultimate
Rebate: $500
Technical details: ENERGY STAR condensing tankless water heaters have an EF between 0.90 and 0.99. The reason they are so efficient is the heat from the flue gases—normally lost with lower efficiency models—is extracted. These models are considered condensing because once the heat is extracted, cool water (or condensation) is created and must be drained.

Pros:

  • condensing models offer the ultimate in energy efficiency, reducing energy costs and helping the environment
  • take up less space than a standard storage tank model, freeing up valuable square footage
  • can be wall-mounted

Cons:

  • the water heater must have access to a household drain for the water condensation to drain
  • most models won’t work during a power outage
  • since water is heated only when needed, there is up to a 10 second delay for the hot water to reach the tap after turning it on

Average installed cost: $3,500 to $4,300
Life expectancy: approximately 20 years
Recommended maintenance: Annually to ensure maximum life expectancy

Ultimate high-efficiency storage tank

Efficiency: ultimate
Rebate: $1,000
Technical details: this system offers the benefits of a standard storage tank with a much higher efficiency. Some models have a TE as high as 98 per cent.

Pros:

  • good for large households using hot water in multiple locations, simultaneously
  • storage tank can handle multiple, simultaneous demands for hot water
  • quick recovery means there’s less chance of running out of hot water (some units can heat up to five gallons per minute)

Cons:

  • a household drain must be available for condensation
  • more expensive to purchase and install than a standard or 0.62 EF storage tank model

Installed cost: $2,900 to $3,600
Life expectancy: 12-15 years
Recommended maintenance: annually

Venting considerations

The flue gases on standard efficiency storage tank water heaters and furnaces typically vent vertically through the chimney, or a B vent. High-efficiency models each require their own dedicated vent. This means if you’re replacing one appliance, you should consider the venting for both the furnace and water heater.

If you’re planning to replace a water heater with a new high-efficiency model, consider making the upgrade at the same time as the furnace (or vice versa). Having a contractor plan and install the venting for both at the same time is usually more cost-effective and easier for them to plan.​