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How Do I Choose a New Water Heater?
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Plumbing 09/12/16

How Do I Choose a New Water Heater?

At Bill Howe Plumbing, we have been installing water heaters in San Diego for over 35 years. Our team of experts are prepared to help customers choose the best water heater for their needs and for an affordable price; that’s why Bill Howe was named San Diego’s Best Plumber by the 2016 Union Tribune Reader’s Poll.

The first thing to consider when choosing the right water heater for your home is whether you want to stay with the same type and size as your current system.

Tankless Water Heaters Save SPace

Our customer in San Diego has two tankless water heaters installed on the exterior of the home in San Diego saving space.

The two most common types of water heaters in San Diego are tankless systems and conventional storage tank water heaters.

Tankless water heaters can cost a little more, but can save on energy and provide an endless supply of hot water. they are great if you have teenagers in the home, and need to have hot water at all times. They are also a great choice if you are looking to install a water heater that saves space. Because tankless water heaters heat the water as needed, they do not hold water requiring a large storage tank. Tankless water heaters are best for homes using natural gas, as electrical units can be costly to upgrade current electrical systems in the home.

Conventional storage tank water heaters are the most common water heaters, and can be natural gas, electric, or even propane. Storage tank water heaters do continually heat water as it is used, so can cost more on energy than tankless, but are less expensive to install.

Capacity and Size

Conventional storage water heaters are sized based on gallons, and the majority of residential homes will have anywhere from a 30 gallon to 100 gallon water heater (the larger sizes often for larger homes with high usage of hot water).

More important than size when choosing a water heater is the first hour rating on a storage tank, or the gallons per minute on a tankless system. This will tell you how much water can be heated and delivered over a set period of time. Most 50 gallon water heaters have a first hour rating of approximately 58 gallons.

When replacing your existing tank water heater, it is important to get the correct measurements of the tank. There have been many new developments in water heater manufacturing and most new water heaters are larger than previous models. This is important as many water heaters are located in smaller spaces and must also be on an 18-inch stand.

Code Upgrades

Not only do you have to consider the actual capacity and size of the water heater, you must also consider if it will require additional code upgrades. Water heaters in San Diego have undergone many changes in regulation including the sale of Lo NOx.

Because uniform Plumbing Code (UPC) is always evolving, you may have a current water heater that needs additional work when replaced. Make sure to check with your local plumber so you are aware of any changes, especially if you will be having a home inspection.


As San Diego’s Best Plumber, we at Bill Howe feel it is important to educate our customers and ensure they are aware of all the aspects of their water heater installation. This is why we offer free on site estimates so that we can tailor each water heater installation to our customer’s unique needs.

Customers should take into account the warranty, code requirements, permits, and efficiency when reviewing water heaters and your estimate. These variables will determine how much your new water heater will cost.

And remember, when you call Bill Howe, you’re not only calling San Diego’s Best Plumber, you’re calling the water heater experts since 1980. Call 1-800 Bill Howe (245-5469) for your free water heater quote today.


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  1. I have had my water heater for about twelve years now and I think I am ready to get a new one. I think most importantly, and something I have never thought of before is making sure the tank will fit in place of the old one. I will have to make sure that when I browse looking for a new one I mention this. Thanks for the helpful information.

  2. Michael Haynes

    I am looking for a tankless hotwater heater. I also want to take advantage of the federal tax credits that may exist,

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What Joel C says about us

Very Satisfied. Michael is always on time, Michael has been doing all of the plumbing related to our remodel. He always does exactly what he commits to do within the estimated cost. He keeps me informed if any wrinkles pop up, and his plumbing skills are excellent as we have had no problems or issues arise after he has left. Very professional! Highly recommend.

August 2019


What Rick M says about us

We had other companies come out for estimates on what was considered a major job with jackhammers and replacing cast iron pipes under the house… having been stung before, we wanted another estimate just to make sure we were making an informed decision. The prior estimates went up to $21,000!
Bill Howe sent us an amazing veteran plumber, Dashawn and his co- worker Anthony. Dashawn did a thorough check of the problem, explained what he thought was needed … he did a final check and we were able to see for ourselves what was the problem. He recommended a complete cleaning to de-scale the pipes, and not the major work we dreaded. Thanks to his solid analysis and patience in making sure we saw what he saw, the issue was resolved completely, and saved us thousands of unnecessary work. None of the other estimates included the cleaning; only the major repairs. Thanks to Dashawn’s knowledge, professionalism and honesty, we’re Bill Howe customers.

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What Carolyn Housman says about us

This was our second excellent experience with Bill Howe. We had a blocked kitchen sink drain 8/5. I was able to get a same day appointment which is AMAZING. Person on phone was very courteous and set me up right away. Tony arrived at the house (called me 30 minutes out so I was able to be ready). He diagnosed the issue (blocked drain, not the garbage compactor) and was able to snake it and ran the water for 10 minutes to be sure the drains were clear. He cleaned up everything and you would not have known he was even there. Thank-you Tony and Bill Howe, you always know how.

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What Ed Gohlich says about us

Cory was our technician on this job. We had a time sensitive repair issue and Bill Howe understood and assisted with getting the job done quickly.
Cory was on time to start the job and finished it quickly. Upon his leaving our home he’s was courteous, very knowledgeable, explaining what the problem was and how he fixed it. Very good communication and this is the way it’s has always been when we use Bill Howe plumbing.
Great company to work with.
Thanks Cory.

August 2019

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What Eric says about us

I had a shower that would not drain. The employee arrived on time and fixed the problem quickly and effectively at a very fair price. I was very happy with everything. Thank you and I highly recommend your plumbing service.

January 2019


What Bridgett says about us

I am extremely happy with the service we received from Bill Howe Plumbing. We were given an incorrect diagnosis of our main sewer line from another vendor, but Bill Howe’s servicemen came out for a second opinion, correctly diagnosed our problem and resolved our back up issues. We will continue to use Bill Howe for all our future plumbing needs!

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