16 Nov. 21

Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer’s Best Hot Water Heater Brands

As Chicago’s top-rated residential service plumber, the professionals from Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer are asked all the time about the best hot water heater brands for homes in Chicagoland – specifically on Chicago’s Northwest Side. We always tell our customers the exact same thing – there’s a lot more to choosing a water heater than a brand. You need to consider a range of factors before you select the right hot water heater for your home and the brand is just one of those to think about. Let’s take a look at all of them and then dive into what brands may be best for your Chicago-area home.

Of course, you can always call (773) 633-6139 to speak with a Vanguard expert about your specific needs and let us walk you through choosing the best brand and model for your home. Or you can follow along with us as we look at what makes a water heater right for your home from every angle. Here’s what we’ll look at to make our decision:

  • Different Hot Water Heater Types
  • Available Hot Water Heater Features
  • Choosing Same Fuel vs. Different Fuel
  • What’s The Best Water Heater Capacity
  • Our Hot Water Heater Best Brand Selections

What Different Types of Residential Hot Water Heaters Are Available?

While your choice of hot water heater for your Chicagoland residential property will depend on a variety of factors – including how much hot water you use and how you’ll be heating the water, you have a wide range of options available to you when it’s time to install a new hot water heater. We’ll look at the four most popular types so you have an idea of what you’ll be able to choose from to meet your unique hot water needs. These hot water heater types are as follows:

  • Storage Tank Hot Water Heater: If you’ve ever opened a closet and seen a large metal tube in it then you’ve seen a storage tank type hot water heater. These are the most commonly used models in the world so it’s safe to say you know what they are and how they work. It’s an insulated tank that stores hot water until it’s needed. Gas models cost more but use less energy to run than electric so they may save money over time – though you want to consider electric as it’s the “greener” option today.
  • Tankless Hot Water Heater: Once a rarity, tankless hot water heaters are more and more common today and that’s a good thing in most instances as they’re more efficient than traditional storage tank water heaters. This water heater operates by heating the water when you need it so they work best for homes that do not draw hot water for multiple simultaneous purposes. Plus they’re best in natural gas homes as electric tankless installations may require upgrades to your home’s electrical grid to function properly.
  • Condensing Hot Water Heater: If your home is gas-powered then a condensing hot water heater may be an option for you – especially if you need a capacity larger than the traditional 55-gallon maximum for residential units. These models use a storage tank and a reheating system to generate more hot water than their traditional counterparts. In essence they’re larger storage tank water heaters with additional features for heating more water.
  • Heat Pump Hot Water Heater: Probably the most energy efficient water heater available for residential use today, heat pump hot water heaters offer incredible savings long-term as they use about 60% less energy than the alternatives. But there are caveats to these savings – specifically you have to have a large uncooled space to draw heat from and as much as seven feet of clearance to install effectively. This is an option that only works for a select few in Chicagoland.

It’s Time To Think About The Hot Water Heater Features You Want!

Just as with any high-dollar purchase you make for your Chicagoland home you’ll want to make sure that the hot water heater you choose has all the available features you want and need for comfortable living in the cold weather. Most hot water heaters on the market today offer a similar set of standard and optional features to shop so let’s take a look at the most common so you’ll know what to look for when it’s time to start shopping for real. Don’t forget the Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer team can help explain the following features so you know exactly what you’re buying:

Hot Water Heater Warranty: The first thing to check when shopping hot water heater features is the warranty that comes along with the model of your choice. Most water heater brands offer warranties from three to twelve years and you’ll want to go for the longest warranty you can comfortably afford. Best to have protection if or when a unit fails unexpectedly. It can save you thousands in replacement costs.

Digital Display & Controls: Why go analog in the 21st century when you don’t have to? A digitally controlled hot water heater system is easier to operate, easier to understand and much simpler to run efficiently. Honestly, there are no downsides to going with a digital display and controls when choosing your new hot water heater so make this a priority when you start shopping so you don’t have to deal with outdated technology for another day.

Tank Protection – Scale & Glass: Many hot water heater tanks today offer additional features that are designed to protect your new hot water heater from damage that could arise from regular use – like scale deposits and corrosion. Anti-scale devices and glass-lined tanks are all well and good but unnecessary if you select a new hot water tank with the right warranty from the start. Seriously, a 12-year warranty is all the protection you need.

Should I Choose A Water Heater Using The Same Fuel Source?

This is an excellent question and one that can only be answered by you as the homeowner. As professional plumbers with a track record unmatched by any other local plumbing company, we always strive to offer the most practical recommendations for each customer – recommendations that take into account their needs and budget. To that end, we usually recommend choosing a new hot water heater that uses the same fuel source as the one that’s being replaced. That ensures the costs don’t have to cover fuel source changes as well as hot water heater installation.

If you’re hot water heater installation is for a new home or one under construction then the choice of fuel source is less costly as there is no need for retrofitting of both the home’s fuel source and its plumbing system. So for new construction the choice is yours and with a hot water heater replacement we recommend going with the same fuel as before.

What Hot Water Heater Capacity Works Best For My Chicagoland Home?

This is a tough answer to give without knowing more about your specific water usage as that will have a dramatic impact on your experience with the hot water heater capacities available today for homeowners in Chicagoland. There’s also the type of hot water heater to consider as tankless models don’t have a capacity in the same sense as storage tank hot water heaters. With those models you’ll want to look for the gallons-per-minute rating to gain an idea of how it will function in your everyday life. To give you an idea of how to look at this let’s take a hypothetical customer and explain why we recommend the capacity that we do.

The Smiths are a family of five who take at least three showers daily, run the dishwasher nightly, wash a load of laundry and run the faucets doing random tasks for about 15 minutes per day. All in all they use about 100 gallons of hot water daily. They don’t need 100-gallons of capacity because they don’t use all the water at once but they do need a larger capacity hot water heater to handle the workload daily. A 55-gallon storage hot water tank or a tankless model would work for them perfectly.

Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer’s Picks for Best Water Heater Brands

While we would normally offer a full-throated recommendation for Product A from Manufacturer A, that’s not really how hot water heater recommendations work due to the reliance on the actual property and its unique challenges to find the perfect make and model. Simply put, there are too many factors tied to the home and the uses to give a blanket recommendation for models. But we can do this for manufacturers because each of the ones below makes high-quality hot water heaters backed by some of the best warranties on the market today. Here are our selections for Chicago’s best hot water heater brands:

  • O. Smith: Makers of some the world’s finest residential hot water heaters, A.O. Smith is only available through a plumbing contractor like Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer so you won’t find this at the big box stores. They offer everything from storage tank hot water heaters to tankless models in a range of capacities.
  • Rinnai: The hot water heaters from Rinnai offer incredible efficiency and long-term value for homeowners throughout Chicagoland and Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer can help you choose the ideal model for your specific needs. And the prices are great too for their entire line of storage tank and tankless hot water heaters!
  • Kenmore: A name most people know and have known for years, Kenmore hot water heaters offer exceptional value in all phases of operation and ownership – not to mention that their warranties are second to none when it comes to hot water heaters. From storage tank models to tankless options, Kenmore is a name you can trust in hot water heaters.

Get Expert Help Choosing A Hot Water Heater In Northwest Chicago!

When you’re ready to purchase a new hot water heater for your Northwest Chicago home – whether it’s an upgrade or a replacement project, Vanguard Plumbing & Sewer is the right team to call for stellar service before, during and after your service call. With more than 500 five-star reviews across the web, we’re the highest rated plumbing company in Illinois so you can count on us for tremendous service and world-class results. Call (773) 633-6139 or submit a contact form today!