My husband and I tend to ignore our water heater until it fails completely. We are then in a big rush to buy and install a replacement. There’s never the opportunity to shop around for the most energy efficient unit. We have often been unhappy with the purchase price, cost of operation, water heating capability and longevity of the systems. I know that the quality of water heaters depends greatly on the type, brand and model. I decided to take proactive measures and do some research. I planned to be better prepared when faced with an emergency. I quickly realized that there are quite a few different styles of water heaters, including conventional storage tanks, heat pumps, tankless and solar. In the past, we’ve always gone with a storage water heater. They are readily available at the bigger hardware stores, don’t cost all that much and range in size from twenty to eight gallons. One of the main benefits is that my husband is capable of handling the installation project. We don’t need to hire a licensed plumber for the job. There are quite a few drawbacks to storage tank water heaters. The tank takes up quite a bit of room in the basement and could rupture and flood the space. Plus, this style wastes quite a bit of energy by continually reheating the water. An on-demand water heater completely eliminates standby energy losses and reduces energy consumption by up to thirty percent. The water is heated only when needed, so there’s no waiting for water to heat up and we’d never run out of hot water. Tankless heaters also take up very little space and typically last twice as long. The problem is that tankless heaters have a limited flow rate, and struggle to meet the demand of multiple faucets simultaneously. Plus, we’d need a professional to complete installation.