Which Water Heater is Right for Your Home?

Real Estate Agent with Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 SA5376460000

The variety of water heaters on the market today gives homeowners more choices as to which type of water heater best suits their needs.   Saving water and energy are keys to lowering energy bills.   So how do you know how best to heat water for your home? 


The traditional water heater (storage tank) is the most cost effective model of water heater available.  These can be gas or electric, but aren't always the most energy efficient.  There are ways to manage a water heater to lower energy usage by adding a timer so water is not heated when it's not needed.   


In Arizona, traditional water heaters can last anywhere from 8 - 12 years, depending on usage and maintenance.   It's often recommended that they be drained twice a year to clear minerals and calcium build-up within the tank to extend the life of the water heater.  


If your current water heater is at the end of it’s useful life, you should already be researching what type to purchase before the old one fails.  Being left to make a quick decision doesn’t always allow enough time to research the variety of water heaters available.   One easy solution to monitor water leaks from a water heater quickly, is to leave a water sensor nearby.  The alarm alone is loud enough to notify anyone of a water leak, allowing for a quick shutoff.   These can be found at hardware stores for a nominal cost.  Mine was about $30 at Lowes.  There are other models on Amazon, but choose wisely.

Leaky Detecting Water Sensor

Besides traditional tank water heaters, tankless water heaters have improved to save water and electricity.    Tankless water heaters can lower an energy bill significantly as they aren't running 24/7 to have hot water at the ready like traditional water heaters.  These are available In gas and electric models.  Make sure you have the right size gas lines and electrical load for it to run efficiently and produce enough hot water based on the number of occupants in your home.  These cost more than traditional water heaters but the return on investment is quicker due to heating water only when you need it. 


Heat pump water heaters offer unique benefits to those homeowners with water heaters in garages in warmer climates.  While heating water, the heat pump works to provide cool air to garages (in Arizona) or wherever the water heater is located.  During the summer months, this benefit is a bonus for hot garage spaces.   My home inspector purchased one about 3 years ago and loves it.  I plan on investing in this type of model to cool my hot garage; will be interesting to see how winter months fair.


For those in wetter climates, the heat pump water heater can provide dry air, acting to reduce humidity (shared by an Atlanta realtor.)  A bonus for these models is that some models allow for splitting the water heater from the heat pump, giving the owner the capacity to include the heat pump portion of the equipment in another area so that the unit benefits a different space than the one housing the water heater.  The return on investment for these is about two years, making them a good option for those in warmer climates.  Those in colder regions should review carefully to see if this is a good option for your home.


Solar water heaters are very energy efficient, but rely on thermal solar panels mounted on a roof or exterior flat surface.  In cloudy climates these aren't as reliable as other models and they rely on gas or electric back-up systems.   These can be more expensive to install so the return on investment takes much longer to recoup.

For more information about water heaters, visit


This is Part 6 in a series on Sustainability. 


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Comments (31)

George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Jan my water heater is about 10 years old now, so I am looking to replace it in the next few months.

Sep 28, 2021 02:00 PM
John Pusa
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Crest - Glendale, CA
Your All Time Realtor With Exceptional Service

Hello Jan Green thank you for sharing very helpful post which water heater is right for home.

Sep 28, 2021 02:59 PM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, CRB, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

Good information Jan!  Our gas water heater is fairly new - couple of years I think so we're good to go for awhile since we decided to stay put. As for cooling the garage, that isn't something I've ever considered. Expensive to do so even with a heat pump.

Sep 28, 2021 03:04 PM
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Yours must last longer in CA than in AZ Ron and Alexandra Seigel !  Your climate must be more moderate.  Plus our water heaters are in garages, which get crazy hot, especially if they are south or west facing.   Thank you for commenting!

Hope the information was helpful for you George Souto !  Good luck on your next water heater :) 

Thank you for reading and help it was helpful John Pusa

Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, CRB, Phoenix Broker heat pump water heaters are an all in one unit as pictured above so no, they aren't that much more expensive.  The ROI for a heat pump water heater that costs about $2,000 is 2 years.  It's perfect for my south facing, hot garage!   The heat pump is included with the water heater and exhausts cool air as it takes the heat from the garage to heat the water.  They are very efficient.  I'm excited to get one. 


Next on my list is the CL Free water filtration system that has carbon filters, no salt!  

Sep 28, 2021 04:02 PM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, CRB, Phoenix Broker

Perfect for you but not for us!

Sep 28, 2021 05:27 PM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Jan- it's good to research all of this before the hot water tank goes. Speaking of "shelf life" of a water heater, in my last neighborhood where the homes were built at the same time, at the 10 year mark, you could walk down the street and see water heaters in the driveway waiting to be hauled away. 

Sep 28, 2021 05:15 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, EXP - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Hi Jan,  Thank you for sharing this information on water heaters.  Ours is fairly new, so I am not shopping for one just yet.  There really is a lot to consider when looking to get a new water heater.

Sep 28, 2021 07:17 PM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Jan Green - now that we are moving into the changing of the seasons, this wonderful report you provided is very educational. Buyers will appreciate your expertise and guidance. I certainly do! Making decisions without any preparation or being educated, such as having to replace a water heater will certainly help anyone reading your blogs and having you for buyer and/or seller representation. Bravo on a well-written and very educational article!

Sep 28, 2021 08:01 PM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

Thank you for the excellent information! I would love to have a tankless water heater but we have the tanks and they're new so they'll be here for a while!

Sep 29, 2021 06:05 AM
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Wow Kathy Streib !  They must have looked like dominos.  Sad to see those all go to the landfill for sure.   Thank you for reading and commenting.  

So true Bob Crane !  

Thank you Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP !  You're such a doll.   All the best for happiness and staying healthy! Thank you for reading and commenting! 

Yup - tankless would work well when you're ready Kat Palmiotti

Sep 30, 2021 12:48 PM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Oct 02, 2021 05:53 PM
Jan Green

Thank you for the feature Kathy Streib

Oct 04, 2021 09:50 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Jan - I know this would not be in a climate where you are but ours is a circulating tank attached to our boiler.  Our boiler is oil because we have no natural gas where we are.

Oct 03, 2021 04:25 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Jan. Having the time to make an educated choice is key. Seeking several sources of professional advice may also help make an oinformed decision. Enjoy your day. 

Oct 03, 2021 05:17 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Jan - reading your post reminds me of "the right tool for the job".  A "tool" may be good for a specific function but not so effective in another.  "It Depends" may be another way of stating it.  Information matters and your post is quite informative.  

Oct 03, 2021 05:50 AM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Carol:

Thanks for the great education on water heaters. I like the idea of having a water sensor - good advice.

We had a water heater (in the garage, thankfully) fail in a place we lived before our current house and it was a terrific mess as we had a lot stored in the garage. Thankfully we were home.


Oct 03, 2021 05:34 PM
Rocky Dickerson
Realty One Group - Las Vegas, NV
Superior Service!

Great post. Certainly a lot of options available these days that we didn't have 30 years ago

Oct 03, 2021 09:24 PM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

Good information for consumers when considering a new water heater purchase. We just replaced ours Jan and are happy with hotter water quicker...cold showers do not appeal to me in the least!

Oct 04, 2021 06:48 AM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

A great post on water heater options.  We typically get 5-8 years on our greater as we are on we water which is mildly acidic and the internals of a hot water heater are not in stainless

Oct 04, 2021 09:14 AM
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

The life of a water heater can vary greatly based on climate, and as your reference, acidity.  Our water is very hard and we tend to get build up on plumbing fixtures. Here in Arizona they recommend flushing them periodically.  Some say that extends the life of a water heater.  Great point Ed Silva !

Oct 04, 2021 09:48 AM
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

That's interesting technology Grant Schneider !  It's really thought provoking writing a post like this as I'm hearing about others' experiencing, and in this case different types of technology!  Thanks for sharing!

That is so true Wayne Martin !  It's always wise to defer to a plumber when making this kind of decision. 

Thank you Michael Jacobs !

You were definitely lucky Jeff Dowler, CRS !  Leaking water heaters can create an awful mess! 

Oct 04, 2021 09:53 AM
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Thank you for reading and commenting Rocky Dickerson .  So true!  Technologies get better and bettter.  Lucky are we to get to use these in todays' tech driven world! 

Me neither Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can! !  I'm curious, what kind of water heater did you choose? 

Oct 04, 2021 09:56 AM
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!

38 gallon - AO Smith Pro Line Commercial Line - cost approximately $288 per year to run.

Oct 04, 2021 10:33 AM