Having to replace a water heater isn’t something you’ll have to do often, but when you do, you’ll want to be backed up by some information. Next to your cooling and heating systems, water heaters use the most energy in the average home. This guide can help you navigate your way through the process.
Your two main choices when replacing your water-heating system is a traditional storage tank system or a tankless (or demand) water heater. The most common choice consumers make is a storage tank system because of the ease of installation and initial cost. A tankless system, which heats water on demand with an electric or gas-powered heating element, has a higher initial cost. However, it typically will last twice as long and lower water heating costs by as much as 60 percent, compared to a storage tank system.
Homeowners with smaller households or homes may benefit from a tankless systems, while a larger family size or one whose bathrooms are far from the main tankless heater may need two to keep up with demand.
Choosing the size of a storage tank water heater involves calculating the amount of hot water you need during the hour when you use the most. Water heaters carry first hour ratings (FHRs) that indicate the amount of water a unit can heat in one hour’s time. The Energy Guide label found on water heaters shows this capacity. Going by the size of your existing tank could be misleading and contribute to higher standby energy losses (the amount of energy wasted in a storage tank water heater when the hot water’s not being used). This is especially the case if your existing tank is oversized for your home.
Sizing a tankless system is similar to a storage tank heater, though you’ll have to consider both the flow rate and temperature rise you need at one time when using hot water. Underestimating either could result in a water heater that won’t have sufficient capacity for simultaneous uses.
The energy factor (EF) indicates how well water heaters utilize energy to heat the water. This rating is also found on the EnergyGuide label. Higher ratings indicate better efficiency.
If you’d like assistance choosing a new water heater for your Northeast Ohio home, please contact us at Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing. We’ve been helping Greater Cleveland area homeowners for more than 77 years.
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Our goal is to help educate our customers in Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about replacing your water heater and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
For those Do it Yourselfers who would rather take control of your own indoor comfort, you can shop our online store for replacement parts, products and accessories!
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