Water heater installation is an important repair that every homeowner has to get at one point or another. It's the home improvement project that lets you take hot showers even when it's 30-below outdoors. But the key is finding the right company to do the work, while also purchasing quality equipment. Here's what you should know about buying a water heater. 

When to call it quits with your current hot water heater to get a new one

Hot water heaters generally only last about 15 years or so. If you're already pushing those limits, and worse, your tank is beginning to make noise or even turn the water rust-colored -- it's past time to get a new water heater installation. The hot water heater company may also charge you a disposal fee since this equipment requires carefulness and specific procedures for it to be recycled. 

Know which kind of hot water heater you'd like to buy

The industry of water heating is worth $3 billion in the United States, so suffice to say -- you've got some options when it comes to your hot water heater. You'll need to be discerning so you know which is best for your household. 

Traditional hot water heaters are the most common and inexpensive. They heat your water with electricity or gas, depending on the infrastructure of your home. 

Tankless hot water heaters are eco-friendly, in that they only heat the water that you use at the time, as opposed to storing and heating it long-term in a tank. This makes your energy bills lower and your home more energy-efficient. 

Solar hot water heaters take it a step further by using the sun's energy to heat your water. This heating system dramatically reduces your carbon footprint and your emissions as a whole. 

Purchasing today's hot water heating equipment will run you about $1,000 and $3,000 when dealing with more tech-centric models.  

Vet the hot water heater installation company that is doing the work

Check and double-check the credibility of any hot water heater company you're hiring. They should be competent craftsmen that also have the best products. 

Whether you go with a traditional hot water heater or tankless, make sure the service provider uses Energy STAR heaters that are approved by the United States Department of Energy in terms of emissions, energy use, contamination, pollutants, and type of energy source. 

In addition to getting recommendations on plumbers from people that you can count on, check to see if they belong to organizations like the American Society Of Heating, Refrigerating And Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and the United Association of plumbers (UA). 

Above everything, have your list of questions at the ready and gauge how they answer them and how comfortable they are dealing with these issues. That lets you know that you're on your way toward getting the best hot water heater installation service available. 

These tips will get you started on buying the best water heater for your home.