Every household has different needs, so it is important to know how to choose the right water heater to keep from getting overwhelmed with all of the options. There is a formula that will help point you in the right direction, and we will give you that formula to help you feel confidant when selecting the right water heater. Say you have a 4 bedroom house and you have 1 person in each room. To determine what kind of water heater you will buy, take the first hour rating (FHR), this measures the amount of hot water the heater will generate during the busiest time of the day, which is the first hour in the morning. Take the given amount, which is usually 12 gallons per person, and then look at the number of bedrooms and add 1. In this case we will use 5 (4 bedrooms + 1) and multiply by 12 (gallons per person). The product given is 60, which is the minimum FHR your home needs.
Say what?! Okay, to make things a little more simpler for those of you who hate math, start with the fuel source you have; solar energy, propane, natural gas fuel, oil, or electricity to find water heaters that will work. Now, we have all heard that size matters, and it could not be more true when it deciding on how to choose the right water heater. You don’t want something too big, because you are heating water that will never be used, and you will waste money this way. Likewise, you don’t want something too small because you will run out of hot water in the middle of your shower. The rule of thumb is that water heaters generally last about 10 years, and the reason most need to be replaced is due to corrosion on the heater itself. Look at the product reviews, the longevity of the warranty, and how expensive the warranty is. The longer the warranty usually points to a better product. A shorter warranty usually means you could have costly repairs in a shorter time. Compare the cost of the water heater you want with a more expensive, and less expensive one and compare the costs with energy efficient models.
One last consideration to keep in mind is that there are also Hybrid water heaters, tankless water heaters and condensing water heaters on the market. While these all sound like great products, they aren’t always a practical solution for your HOT water needs. You will need to consider upfront costs, plumbing upgrades and what your main desire of the heater will be…we know you want the heater to make hot water, but what other benefits could you gain? Energy cost savings? Space savings? Endless hot water for a large family? These are all factors that will ultimately decide if your 10-20 year investment will pay back in any way or just consume energy to produce hot water. Don’t just replace what you’ve got with what you’ve got. Take the time to decide before your water heater leaks and you don’t have the time to make this decision. To minimize the confusion and feeling overwhelmed, please let our experts at Plumbing Plus help you decide.