Here is what you need to know when shopping for a new water heater:


Water heaters that use the air inside your home for combustion are required to have a certain amount of room.  These heaters should not be installed in tight spaces without provisions giving it air to burn. Heaters with a single flue should never be in a room with negative air pressure e.g commercial kitchens with vent hoods or rooms with exhaust fans. Negative pressure in a room will not allow toxic gasses from the water heater to flow through the flue pipe and will remain in your home or business space. Consider adding a carbon monoxide detector in the room with your water heater to keep you and your family safe from the deadly odorless gas.  Direct-Vent water heaters remove problems caused by exhaust fans, tightly sealed houses, and confined spaces.

Energy Factor Rating

Always consider the energy factor when buying your new water heater. All water heaters have an energy factor rating.  The higher the rating the more efficient your water heater will be.  The higher the efficiency rating the higher the initial installation cost for the water heater. High-efficiency water heaters may also require PVC flue and a floor drain to drain off condensation.


Usually the cheaper your water heater is, the less efficient it is, resulting in higher energy costs. Deciding to pay a higher upfront price for your water heater can save you money in the long run by paying lower energy bills, offsetting the initial installation cost.

Durability and Maintenance

Water heaters with a single flue normally have air filterers and flame arrestors that must be cleaned on a regular basis.  A dirty filter or flame arrestor can cause the water heater’s burner to overheat tripping a resettable switch or blowing a fuse.  When choosing a new water heater we recommend buying one that has been in production for at least a year.  Usually, in the first year, the manufacturer might finds bugs in the design that need fixing.  Water heaters are getting more complex and there is a lot more to know than just hooking up a flue, gas, and water to a heater. look for a company which is trained and recommended by the manufacturer to install their water heaters. A good portion of premature water heater failures are due to improper installation.  Sometimes when a problem surfaces, you may be out of warranty forcing you to replace the heater.

(Check out our earlier blog for changes in DOE Water Heater Efficiencies)

Need a Water Heater Expert in St. Louis? Contact us at (314) 487-4564. Bieg Plumbing Company is A.O. Smith Verified Water Heater Replacement and Installation Contractor.



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