If you are having a new water heater installed, consider a few additional accessories. The following can improve the efficiency and safety of your new water heater.
1. Tank Insulation
Make sure your tank is as efficient as possible by having it insulated as soon as it is installed. Water heater blankets improve efficiency in two ways. First, they prevent the tank from losing heat, so it takes less energy to keep the water hot. Second, they stop that heat from escaping into the house where it can lead to increased cooling energy needs. Blankets must be cut and fitted to your specific heater model, so it's best to have them professionally installed.
2. Inline Water Softener
If you have hard water, you can prolong the life of your water heater and your plumbing pipes with a water softener. You can opt for a whole house water softener if you have extremely hard water. For moderately hard water, an inline softener installed on the water supply line leading into the new hot water heater may be all that is needed because mineralization is more likely to occur with hot water rather than cold.
3. Expansion Tank
An expansion tank is connected to the overflow valve on top of the water heater. In some areas, local code now requires that expansion tanks are installed on all new water heaters, while in other areas it is still optional. If you are in an optional area, it's a good idea to add this accessory to your new water heater. In the event the heater overheats and the pressure mounts, the water will flow into the expansion tank instead of bursting out and causing damage to your home.
4. Pressure Regulator
High water pressure is hard on all of your plumbing, but it can be especially damaging to the liner inside your water heater. If your home has high water pressure, consider installing a pressure regulator on the water line that is hooked into your new water heater tank. This will help lower the pressure of the incoming water so it doesn't crack or otherwise damage the water tank's liner. This in turn extends the lifespan of the new heater.
5. Improved Ventilation
Ventilation is important around a water heater, especially gas water heaters that may produce carbon monoxide. Have your installer check the ventilation in the area surrounding the heater, especially if your water heater is kept in a closet. It's much easier for your service tech to put in better ventilation before they install the new water heater because there will be more room to complete the work.
Talk to your water heater system installation service to see what accessories should be installed along with your new heater.