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Gas, Electric, & Tankless – Oh My! Your Water Heater Buying Guide

Water heater repair or installation can easily become one of those things you put off for as long as possible before taking action. After all, water heaters tend to go for long periods of time without any problems, so we generally take them for granted. However, sooner or later they do come to the end of their lifespan—after about 8 to 12 years on average—and need to be replaced.

Whether you’re buying a new condo, looking to renovate a historic San Francisco home, or have simply reached the end of your water heater’s lifespan, buying a new water heater is a big investment. So it’s important to contact a professional plumber to make sure you’re getting the best unit for your home’s structure and your lifestyle.

As San Francisco’s local plumbing pros since 1979, we know everything there is to know about choosing the right water heater. Use this guide as a starting point, then reach out to our team for a professional evaluation, recommendation, and installation!

Which is Better: Gas or Electric Water Heater?

Usually, unless you’re buying a new home, the choice between a gas and electric water heater has already been made for you. Unless you want to go through an entire home renovation, you may already be invested in the utility devices that you have. But let’s take a closer look at what this means for homeowners, home renovators, and home shoppers.

Gas Water Heaters

Gas is cheaper to use and makes hot water faster, which makes gas water heaters an attractive option for many, especially those with larger families. However, because gas water heaters can’t be installed in a living area, a bathroom, or a bedroom, installing them can be a challenge in San Francisco. There are many historic homes and commercial buildings in this area, and if you purchase one, you’ll be presented with unique challenges when it comes to rebuilding them.

It’s always best to call a professional plumber before you start renovating a local building or home. Local plumbers can help you understand whether a gas or electric water heater will be more efficient and comply with local ordinances.

Electric Water Heaters

Most people think of electric water heaters as outdated and inefficient devices, but in fact, they’ve come a long way since their invention. It’s not a deal-breaker if you buy a new home with an electric water heater—it just means that you may have other responsibilities when it comes to being energy efficient.

That said, electric water heaters can be installed almost anywhere. They’re popular in condos, where they can be installed under the sink as point-of-use appliances when you might just want to wash your hands or do a few dishes at the right temperature. This makes small electric water heaters more energy efficient if you live on your own.

Is a Tankless Water Heater Worth It?

There is, of course, another very popular option—the tankless, a.k.a. on-demand, water heater. On average, a tankless water heater can save up to 34% off of your heating costs if installed correctly. Whether your home is set up for gas or electric, there is a tankless option for you!

In San Francisco’s temperate climate, the rise in the natural water temperature needed to create hot water isn’t as much as if you lived further north, where water tends to freeze more often in the winter months. That makes a tankless water heater an especially attractive option for Peninsula & Bay Area residents.

What Size Water Heater Should I Buy?

To choose the right size water heater(s), you’ll need to decide where they will be placed in your home, how many gallons of water they will heat per day, and how much of a temperature rise each hot water device or faucet will require. Doing this math can get complicated quickly, so for an exact measurement, call in a plumbing pro to help you decide exactly what size water tank you’ll need!

It may sound hard to believe, but a correctly sized heating unit will deliver an endless supply of hot water. That’s because when a tap is turned on, only the water that’s needed travels through the heating unit for immediate use. So, if you’re not using hot water, you’re not wasting any energy heating it.

Best Type of Water Heater

There are many water heater types and brands out there, and because each home and family has its own needs, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. But a trusted local plumber can get you the right model that will deliver the gallons per minute at the temperature you need to start saving money and feel as comfortable as possible in your home.

At George Salet Plumbing, we’re factory-trained to install and repair a range of tank-type and tankless water heaters from Takagi, Rinnai, A.O. Smith, and State brands. We also perform installation and repair for:

  • Rheem
  • Whirlpool
  • GE
  • American Standard
  • Kenmore
  • Bradford White
  • Noritz
  • Bosch
  • Aquastar
  • Paloma

We know the ins and outs of all these brands, and can help you find a water heater that will fit your needs, your building code, and your budget.

Choose the Plumbing Pros for Your Next Installation

At George Salet Plumbing, we have the knowledge and skill to perform all types of water heater installations. From the most sensitive tankless water heater retrofits to the simplest undersink or point-of-use water heaters, and from the smallest condo to the largest commercial enterprise, we can get your water heater installed safely and efficiently. Take out the guesswork and get a new unit perfectly suited for your situation today!

Superior Water Heater Installation in San Francisco

Being locally owned and operated for over 40 years gives us the edge over any chain appliance store. Our trusted team has been with us for years, which means no surprises about who is going to show up to install your heating unit. Plus, we offer 6- and 10-year full parts & labor warranties on all of our standard and premier water heater models. Schedule your appointment online, text us, or call (415) 234-0733 in San Francisco or (650) 557-3883 in the Peninsula today.

Schedule a service with us today!

Schedule a service with us today!

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