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The 2024 Alberta Water Heater Buyer’s Guide

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Hot Water Heaters, Water Heater Installation

Alberta homes need hot water—and Action Furnace can install a new water heater that ensures you and your family always have it! Read this guide before buying a new water heater to make sure you know exactly what your options are and how they compare.


Posted by Ryan | January 12, 2024

Hot water is a must for Alberta homes—not only do you need it for washing dishes and doing laundry, but you try taking cold showers for an entire winter in Red Deer and tell us how much fun it is!

Your hot water heater plays a vital role in your home’s comfort and cleanliness—but eventually, you’ll need to replace it with a new one. To help you, we’ve created this guide that covers everything you’ll need to know about the energy efficiency of new models, water tanks vs. tankless heaters, and the installation process.

Get a Quote for Your New Water Heater Installation

This Guide Includes

  • When to Buy a New Water Heater: Repairing vs. Replacing
  • What Kind of Water Heater to Buy
    • High-Efficiency vs. “Normal” Water Heaters
    • Comparison Chart: Water Heater Types at a Glance
    • Different Types of Water Heaters Explained
      • Hot Water Tanks
        • How They Work
        • Pros
        • Cons
        • Who They’re Ideal For
      • Tankless Water Heaters
        • How They Work
        • Pros
        • Cons
        • Who They’re Ideal For
  • How to Buy a New Water Heater for Your Home
    • Sizing Your Water Heater Effectively
    • Preparing for Your Water Heater Installation
    • Tips for Using & Maintaining Your New Water Heater
  • Why Buy with Action Furnace?
    • Industry Leading Warranties & Guarantees
    • Membership Benefits
    • Water Heaters Starting from Just $22 per Month
  • Frequently Asked Questions about Buying a Water Heater

When to Buy a New Water Heater: Replacing vs. Repairing

Not every water heater problem is a sign that you need a replacement—in fact, most water heater problems are relatively simple repairs because these systems only have a few moving parts.

Book Hot Water Heater Repairs

Still, some problems can’t be fixed—and it’s important to know the difference. Here are some examples of each:

Repair Your Water Heater If

  • Your pilot light goes out
  • Your circuit breaker trips (electric water heaters only)
  • Your burner or heating element stops working
  • Your thermostat malfunctions
  • Your valves stop working

Replace Your Water Heater If

  • Your water heater is over 10 years old (making repairs more frequent and less effective)
  • Your water tank is leaking
  • You’re paying too much for hot water every month

What Kind of Water Heater to Buy

High-Efficiency vs. Regular Water Heaters

New water heaters rated by ENERGY STAR have significantly better energy efficiency than older models. The Uniform Energy Factor (UEF) rating measures a water heater’s efficiency in converting energy to heat and its overall energy consumption.

High-Efficiency Water HeatersStandard Water Heaters
Energy Efficiency (UEF)0.65 to 0.95Under 0.65
Initial CostMore expensive upfrontLess expensive initially
Operating CostMore cost-effective in the long runCostlier to operate over time
Environmental ImpactLower due to higher efficiencyHigher energy consumption, leading to greater emissions

Comparison Chart: Water Heater Types At a Glance

There are two major categories of water heaters sold in Alberta—hot water tanks and tankless systems. Here’s a quick look at how they compare:

See Also: Hot Water Tanks vs. Tankless Water Heaters: Which Is Best for Your Home?

Hot Water Tanks (Storage)Tankless Water Heaters (On Demand)
Average LifespanTypically 10-15 yearsUp to 20 years or more in some cases
Upfront CostGenerally less expensiveMore expensive initially
Running CostHigher due to continuous heating and standby heat lossLower, as they heat water on demand, reducing energy waste
Energy EfficiencyLess efficient, especially over time due to standby heat lossMore efficient as they heat water on demand, reducing energy loss
Ease of MaintenanceRegular maintenance required, but generally straightforwardMore complex due to advanced technology, may require professional maintenance

Different Types of Water Heaters Explained

Hot water tank next to furnace in basement of home

Hot Water Tanks (Storage)

How They Work

  • These units consist of a large storage tank that holds and heats water (typically ranging from 20 to 80 gallons).
  • The tank uses either gas burners or electric heating elements to heat the water.
  • A thermostat controls and maintains the water at a set temperature.
  • As hot water is used, cold water enters the bottom of the tank to be heated.
  • Insulated tanks help retain heat, but some heat loss is inevitable, requiring periodic reheating.


  • Lower initial installation cost.
  • Simpler technology and easier to operate.
  • Compatible with most existing home plumbing systems.


  • Higher running costs due to standby heat loss.
  • Larger physical footprint, requiring dedicated space.
  • Limited hot water supply; can run out during high demand.

Ideal For

Homes with numerous occupants who routinely need hot water at the same time.

Tankless hot water heater in garage of home

Tankless Water Heaters (On Demand)

How They Work

  • Also known as on-demand water heaters, these models heat water directly without the use of a storage tank.
  • When a hot water tap is turned on, cold water travels through a pipe into the unit.
  • Either a gas burner or an electric element heats the water as it passes through.
  • Because they heat water on the spot, tankless water heaters provide a constant supply of hot water.
  • These systems require a high power draw to rapidly heat water, which may necessitate electrical or gas line upgrades.


  • Lower utility bills
  • No waste- only heats as much water as you need
  • Longer lifespan than traditional tanked water heaters


  • Higher upfront installation costs.
  • May require larger gas lines or more powerful electrical circuits (depending on power source).
  • Inconsistent water temperature when multiple outlets are used simultaneously.

Ideal For

Energy-conscious homeowners or those without space for storage tanks.

How to Buy a New Water Heater for Your Home

If you’re buying a tankless water heater, you’ll have hot water on demand (unless multiple people in different parts of the house are trying to use it at the same time, in which case you may want to consider purchasing multiple units for different areas). But if you’re buying a hot water tank, you’ll need to make sure it can hold enough hot water for everyone in your home. Here are the guidelines for typical homes:

Water Heater Sizing Guidelines

OccupancyRecommended Tank Size
1-2 people30-40 gallons
3-4 people40-50 gallons
5+ people50-80 gallons

Additional Sizing Factors

  • Household hot water consumption patterns.
  • Simultaneous use of multiple hot water appliances.
  • Peak hot water demand periods.

Action Furnace can provide tailored recommendations based on your home’s specific needs. We’ve installed hot water heaters of all kinds throughout Alberta, so we’ll be able to determine the ideal size for you and your family.

See Also: What Size Hot Water Heater Do I Need?

Service technician after installing new hot water heater in home

Preparing for Your Water Heater Installation

Before your new water heater installation, take a few steps to prepare your home and ensure the process will be as smooth as possible:

  • Clear the installation area for easy access.
  • Ensure existing plumbing and electrical systems are functioning properly.
  • Consider upgrading insulation around the installation area for improved efficiency.
  • Plan for potential disruptions in water usage during installation.
Homeowner attaching hose to drain hot water tank

Tips for Using & Maintaining Your New Water Heater

Proper use and maintenance are essential for the longevity and efficiency of your water heater.

  • Regular Inspections: Schedule annual inspections by a professional to ensure optimal operation.
  • Temperature Settings: Keep the thermostat set to a safe and efficient temperature, typically around 120°F.
  • Drain and Flush the Tank Annually: For tank water heaters, drain and flush the tank once a year to remove sediment buildup.
  • Check the Anode Rod: Inspect (and if necessary, replace) the anode rod in hot water tanks every few years to prevent tank corrosion.
  • Insulate Older Units: When your tank gets older, consider adding an insulation blanket to improve efficiency.
  • Monitor for Leaks or Damage: Regularly check for signs of leaks, rust, or other damage.

See Also: Does My Water Heater Need Maintenance?

Action Furnace technician finishing installation of tankless hot water heater

Why Buy with Action Furnace?

Our team has installed countless water heaters in Calgary, Red Deer, and Edmonton. Here’s why we’re the right choice for your home:

Industry Leading Warranties & Guarantees

Our two-year trial guarantee means we’ll remove the equipment and fully refund you for it if you’re not satisfied by the end of your first two years. We also offer a $500 installation date guarantee, a customer respect guarantee, and more. See every warranty and guarantee we offer here.

Membership Benefits

Members of our Comfort Club get 10% off all future HVAC repairs, as well as access to our priority service.

New Water Heaters from Just $22 per Month

Our hot water solutions are some of the most affordable in the industry, and we offer easy financing on all new models.

When you work with Action Furnace, you get a new water heater installed by the best in the business. Contact us to book your water heater installation and learn more by exploring the FAQ below.

Frequently Asked Questions about Buying a Water Heater

How Much Are New Water Heater Installations?

Costs vary depending on the type of water heater and complexity of installation, but most of the water heaters we sell range from $800 to $2500. When you contact us about installing your new water heater, we’ll be happy to provide you with a detailed upfront quote after asking a few questions about your specific needs.

How Long Does It Take to Install a Water Heater?

Typically, installation takes a few hours, but it can vary based on type and installation complexity. We’ll provide a timeline for your installation when you book it with us, and let you know in advance if we run into any issues that could cause us to take longer.

What Are Some Signs of Water Heater Trouble?

Common signs include inconsistent water temperatures, leaks, discolored water, or unusual noises. If you experience any of these issues, call Action Furnace for hot water heater repair.

What’s the Average Annual Cost to Run a Water Heater?

This depends on the type, size, and age of the heater. In general, however, gas storage heaters cost more annually than electric ones, and hot water tanks cost more than tankless systems.

What’s the Lifespan of a Water Heater?

Storage water heaters typically last 10-15 years, while tankless models can last over 20 years.

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Written by Ryan Tutak

Ryan is considered one of Calgary's most knowledgeable residential HVAC specialists. Working in the industry for over 12 years, he's helped thousands of homeowners with their heating and cooling systems. Outside of running Calgary's most reputable HVAC business, you can find him on the Golf course practicing his short game or traveling with his family. His main goal is to create a positive collaborative culture, one in which his employees are excited to come in and are motivated to work hard. He spends the majority of his day working directly with Home Comfort Advisors, Service and Maintenance Technicians, and Customer Service Representatives ensuring they are fully prepared to lead the Home Service Industry in Customer Service.

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