When it comes to home management, the water heater doesn’t get enough attention. This magical device is the reason we have hot water to shower in and wash our dishes and our clothes. It makes most cleaning tasks easier and provides relaxing baths when those are needed (and lately, they’re needed a lot). Despite this, there are very few guides online breaking down the features they need to focus on when selecting a water heater that will last and provide hot water when it’s needed. The following will attempt to remedy that by exploring three main tips to keep in mind when shopping for a water heater.
Tank Or Tankless
Depending on the space you have available and how much hot water you need, you should be able to decide whether a water heater with a tank or a tankless one is ideal. A water heater with a tank tends to take a little bit longer to heat the water that it stores within a large tank. Once stored, however, the water stays hot and can be used. Once the tank is empty, however (like when your sister and her boyfriend spend the night, and both of them take comically long showers), the water may run lukewarm or even cold. It is also worth noting that this type of water heater is less energy efficient than tankless options, as water is heated even when it’s not in use.
A tankless water heater heats water fast enough that as the water is demanded and passes through the heater, it’s warmed up enough for use. If you want to know how to choose between different tankless water heaters, be sure to research and understand how important proper sizing is. You can ask for help from your local water-heating professional in determining the appropriate size for your needs.
Think About The Fuel System
This tip might involve a bit of calculating potential utility costs, but it’s absolutely critical if you want to select the right water heater for your home. Most water heaters come as part of an electric or gas fuel system. Depending on the hookups in your home and the cost of energy where you live, this decision might be really easy to make. You might also have a preference due to environmental concerns. If you decide to go the gas route, be sure to ask for instruction on how to relight the pilot light from whoever is installing it in case it goes out. It also might be worth noting that even though gas-fueled water heaters tend to be less expensive, they also tend to have a shorter life span.
How Much Water You Use
It’s a good idea to figure out how much hot water you need and use on a regular basis, particularly at peak hours, before you begin your search. Knowing how much water you use can give you a good idea of how much demand your water heater needs to be able to handle. If you only have two hours each night to bathe all the kids, do the laundry, wash the dishes, and mop the floors, those two hours count as peak hours. Often the first two hours after waking and the two before going to bed are peaks for most households, but yours might be different. Once you know how many different water-using devices will be running during these peak times, you can look online for an average flow rate for each of those devices. You might even be able to find the specific flow rate for the dishwasher that you have. This will almost certainly be measured in gallons per minute. Once you have that, add up all the gallons per minute you use during a peak hour, and this will give you your peak hour flow rate, which you can then take with you shopping. Select only a water heater that can handle your peak-hour flow rate.
The above tips should help you sort through the countless different options for water heaters that are available. If you’re still struggling to make your selection, you can speak to a professional in your area. They’ll be able to give you a good idea of average requirements, as well as information on additional factors like the cost of having someone come to repair it and how long a particular model typically lasts. It’s a good idea to ask for some maintenance tips, as this will help you ensure you’re doing everything you can to extend the life of your water heater.