About Tank Water Heaters

The most common way to heat water in the United States is with a tank-style water heater. Tank water heater units heat water even when not in use, to compensate for standby heat loss. Insulation between the storage tank and the outer jacket slows this heat loss, but cannot eliminate it entirely. To maintain a preset water temperature, the water heater must cycle on periodically, even when there is no demand for hot water.

Tank water heaters generally have about 70% usable capacity, meaning a typical 50-gallon tank has about 30-35 gallons of truly hot water in reserve for usage. If there is high demand over a short period – a family taking back-to-back showers in the morning or a vacation home packed with guests – the hot water can run out. When it does, homeowners have to wait for the water to get hot again.

Current gas hot water heaters contain special flammable vapor ignition resistant (FVIR) technology that prevents the ignition of flammable vapors, such as spilled gasoline, outside the unit. All gas hot water heaters sold since July 1, 2003, must have this FVIR technology. (See adjacent information.)

Installing Tank Water Heaters

If a remodeling budget is tight, tank water heaters will likely be the most affordable choice, since labor requirements are minimal. Installed costs are typically between $500 to $1,000.

Best Tank Water Heaters for Luxury Bathrooms

Ruud Ultra Low NOx line of Imperial, Professional or Fury, Models

  • Patented, environmentally-friendly, radiant burner virtually impervious to scale and mineral buildup for the life of the water heater.
  • Nitrous-oxide emissions at only 10 nanograms per Joule, complying with Southern California’s SCAQMD (South Coast Air Quality Management District) Rule 1121.
  • Warranties between 6 and 10 years, depending on the water heater model.

The Ultra Low NOx water heaters also include the Guardian Flammable Vapor Ignition Resistance (FVIR) System. First unveiled by Ruud in 2003, the proprietary Guardian System incorporates an exclusive air and fuel shutoff mechanism that shuts the water heater down quickly and safely should vapors ignite within the combustion chamber. In addition, the Ruud Guardian System is maintenance-free, with no filters to clean-ever.