Is your water heater tank leaking? If so, it is time to replace it. You may want to consider the top four replacement types: natural gas fueled, electric, electric hybrid, and tank-less.
The most likely options are shown at the right. The top left photo is an example of the lowest priced type, electric. This unit is the least expensive to buy, but the most expensive to operate. It only costs about $400, but the operating cost is about $450 per year. The top right gas fired water heater costs about $150 more to buy, but only costs $285 per year to operate. The lower right water heater is one of the newest types and called a hybrid water heater. It is a high efficiency electric unit and costs about $1,500, but it only costs about $165 to operate annually. The lower left unit is a tankless water heater and costs about $1,000 and has an annual operating cost of $260. Tankless units have the highest installation cost.
Another piece of the puzzle to consider is the installation costs. When replacing a water heater, it is usually less expensive to install the same type of unit that you are replacing. This is because the installer does not have to install new wires and/or gas lines. In order to calculate the lowest overall cost, you need to consider: the water heater cost, the installation cost, the annual operating cost, and how long you plan to stay in the home. Will you stay long enough to justify a high installed price and low operating costs? Hope you like puzzles.