Water heaters are one of the things we tend to take for granted right up until it runs out. Your water heater is one of the most important appliances in your home. It’s how you wash the dishes, the laundry, and well, the kids. When it goes out, you need it fixed as soon as possible, so you can get back to life as you know it.


If your water heater has been acting up, or if you’re thinking about installing a new one, give the experts at Reaume Heating and Cooling a call! We’ll answer any questions, whether you’re wondering about energy efficiency of a new model, looking to replace an existing tank, or installing a new water heater for the first time, we’ll help you choose and install the right water heater for your family and your budget.


Reaume Heating and Cooling is your local water heater expert with more than 45 years in the business. Our professional, licensed staff are familiar with all makes and models of water heaters, and have the tools and experience necessary to repair, replace, or install your water heater. So the next time your water heater breaks down, contact Reaume Heating and Cooling!

Types of Water Heaters

When you’re trying to decide on a new water heater, there’s a lot of things to consider. Maybe you just moved to a new home, or maybe the kids have moved out, and you’d like something a bit more efficient for just you and your partner. Whatever the reason, or the need, there’s a type of water heater out there that’s right for your home and your budget, but you have to know about them to be able to pick the right one! So, we’ve put together this short list of the most common types of water heaters, so you can make an informed choice. If this list doesn’t help you make the decision, feel free to give us a call and we’ll answer any questions you throw at us.

Storage Tank Water Heater: If we were talking about regular heaters, this would be a furnace. It’s one of the most common water heaters out there, it’s middle of the road for energy efficiency, top of its class for hot water storage, and pretty low on installation cost. Storage Tank Water Heaters do exactly what their name suggests: they store hot water.

Most standard storage tank water heaters hold about 55 gallons, which tends to serve a typical family of four well, as long as no one takes excessively long showers. Essentially, this water heater heats water, and then stores it in an insulated tank until the water is needed.

This type of water heater comes in two standard versions, gas fueled and electric. While the electric model may be cheaper to purchase up front, you’ll spend almost twice as much on energy costs just to run the thing. A gas model does cost more at the time of purchase, but it uses considerably less energy to run.

Heat Pump (Hybrid) Water Heater: If you live in a mild climate, or if you only live in your home during the summer months, this is a great, energy efficient option. This water heater takes heat from the air and transfers it into the water, using 60 percent less energy than a typical electric water heater. Again, the upfront cost of this model is higher than a standard electric model, but you make that money back fairly quickly in energy savings.

We mentioned that this was a good model if you live in a milder climate, and that’s because it only really functions well in temperatures between 40 to 90 degrees. Any colder than that and there’s not enough heat in the air for the heater to warm the water. You should also note that this water heater needs about 7 feet of clearance from floor to ceiling, and about 1,000 cubic feet of space that is not cooled, in order for it to draw in enough heat. If you have the space, and the right climate, this is an excellent money-saving option for many.

Tankless Water Heater: Also known as an on-demand water heater, this model does just that: produce heated water on-demand, or exactly when you need it. A tankless water heater uses heating coils to warm the water when you want to use it. While these are super energy-efficient options, that don’t take up much space, they do have a few drawbacks.

They only provide a limited flow of hot water per minute, usually somewhere around 3.5 gallons. This makes them pretty impractical for a family of four, since you certainly couldn’t run the dishwasher and take a shower at the same time and still have hot water for both. However, if it’s just you and your partner, this is an energy efficient option that will give you more than enough hot water, exactly when you need it. That means you waste less water and less money. We recommend the natural gas model rather than the electric model, as that can take some serious installation feats.

Solar Water Heater: If you live somewhere tropical, or a region where it’s mostly sunny, this is another great energy efficient option. A solar cell on the roof absorbs heat from the sun, and transfers it to the water in the water tank. While these are splendid on bright, sunny days in the summer, your savings might not be as great on cloudy days. It is good to know that most models have a backup system that will kick in if you haven’t been getting enough solar power.

In terms of price, this is not a cheap option. Even with rebates for energy efficiency, it will take you 10 to 30 years to recoup what you spent in cost and installation. If you plan on living in the same house for a long time, this is a great option for you, but it is important to know the drawbacks as well.

Condensing Water Heater: If you have a large family that needs more than the standard 55 gallon tank, you might consider a condensing water heater. If you heat with gas, these have an insulated tank like a standard water heater, but they capture exhaust gases that would go out the flue in a standard model. This energy saving feature then blows the gases through a coil that transfers the heat into more water.

Since they are larger, they’re usually a little more expensive, and can take more in terms of installation, but if you need more hot water capacity this is your best, most energy efficient option.


Things to consider before getting a new water heater

If you’ve had your water heater since your kids were babies, and now they’ve moved to college, it’s time to think about a new one. Standard water heaters have about a 12 year warranty, so once you get past that, you’re treading in hot water (no pun intended). Since it’s time to start thinking about a new one, here’s a few things to think about before you decide on a model. First look at the list above and then use that list, along with the considerations below to determine which water heater will work best for your home and your budget.

Capacity: First you need to know how much water you need. The best way to think about this is to figure out when your household uses the most hot water, and then determine about how much that is, exactly. Maybe it’s in the morning, when everyone is getting ready for work, or maybe it’s at night, when you do the dishes, start the dishwasher, and get ready for bed.

Things to know: The average shower takes about 20 gallons of water, the average shave 2, a load of laundry takes about 32, and food prep takes about 5. Use those averages as benchmarks to figure out the most water you’ll need at one time. The standard water heater holds 55 gallons of water. If you think you’re going to need more than that on a regular basis you might consider getting two units, or upgrading to a larger unit than standard.

Space:  Just because you get a water heater with the same capacity as the old one doesn’t mean it will fit in the same space. As technology improves, models are changed to improve efficiency, which means more insulation, and wider or taller water heaters. So make sure you measure, and talk to your installation expert to make sure you’re choosing an option that will fit in your home, and function well.

Warranty: Not all water heaters have a 12 year warranty. Most of them do range from 3-12 years, but generally longer warranty models tend to last longer and work better. It’s a good idea to purchase the longest warranty possible, because then even if something does happen, you’ll be able to get a new one at low to no cost.

Drain Valves: All water heaters are different, but there are some features that set good ones apart from average ones. Usually water heaters come with either brass or plastic valves down by the base of the unit. You’ll want to choose a model with brass valves, as they are considerably more durable than the plastic options.

Glass-Lined Tanks: If you can find a model with a glass lined tank, it’s a great feature to have. Glass reduces corrosion, prolonging the life of your water heater.

Display: A really handy feature is a digital display. If you purchase a water heater with a digital display, you can easily customize the way your water heater operates, for ultimate energy efficiency. Some models will even allow you to set it on a vacation mode when you’re away to optimize your efficiency.

How do you know when it’s time to replace your water heater?

Age: If your water heater is past its warranty, or it’s more than 15 years old, it’s probably time to bite the bullet. At this point, you’ll probably end up starting to pay more in combined repair fees and energy bills than it would cost to just replace it.

Leaking: If it’s leaking at all, you should call a professional, but if it’s leaking consistently it’s probably time for a new unit. Unfortunately, water heater leaks are difficult to fix, and the longer you let it go, the more likely your home is to flood. Call a someone for a professional opinion, and then start looking at some new, energy efficient options.

Rust and Corrosion: Over time, your water heater will begin to rust and corrode, and this is another fix that’s nearly impossible to fix. You can check inside your water heater to see if it’s made it all the way into your water, and if it has, it’s definitely time for something new. It’s also good to check around connecting areas like the temperature and pressure relief valve. The more those integral parts are rusted, the quicker you’ll need a replacement.

Inconsistent Temperature: If your water isn’t getting hot enough, or is too hot consistently, it could be a sign that it’s getting on in years. If the water is too hot, you might just need to replace the thermostat, but if it’s not hot enough, there’s a pretty good chance that it’s too old.


We have served the West Michigan Lakeshore for more than 45 years and are considered the areas
most trusted and experienced Marine Heating, cooling and refrigeration equipment contractor. Contact us today for a free quote.

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