Since the early 1900s, on-demand hot water has been a staple of the modern home. Homes in American Fork, UT are no different. However, making sure your home has a reliable and cost-effective supply of hot water requires you to choose the right size water heater that suits your home’s needs. If you choose one that’s too small, you’ll end up running short of hot water when you need it. If you choose one that’s too large, you’ll waste a small fortune in unnecessary energy costs. Here’s how you can choose the perfect size water heater for your home.
Sizing a Storage Tank Water Heater
Here in American Fork, most homes rely on storage tank-type water heaters for their hot water. They’re the de facto standard in much of the country. They work by pre-heating water to an appropriate temperature and storing it up for use when you need it. Storage tank water heaters will use either natural gas or electricity to heat the water, although they may also use heat pump technology.
In all cases, you’ll need to consider the storage tank’s capacity to decide if it can meet your home’s hot water needs. Fortunately, most storage tank water heaters will have an EnergyStar label that will list the unit’s first-hour rating. This tells you exactly how many gallons of hot water you can expect from the water heater in a single hour when it starts with a full tank.
The first-hour rating of a storage-tank water heater is useful because you can use it as a sizing guide. To do this, you must first estimate the hot water usage of your home during its peak demand hour. In most homes, this happens in the morning when everyone’s showering and preparing for the day. Sometimes, it could be in the evening if you’re running a dishwasher and doing the laundry at the same time.
Whatever your peak hour, all you need to do is measure the flow rate of whatever’s using the hot water and multiply that by how long it’ll run. Then, add all of your figures together. Ideally, you’ll want a storage-tank water heater with a first-hour rating that’s comfortably above your peak-hour usage total. In most homes, you will need a 40 or 50-gallon water heater.
Sizing a Tankless Water Heater
Storage tank water heaters aren’t the only option. Instead, you could opt for an on-demand or tankless water heater system. These systems produce hot water whenever you need it, and continue to do so until you no longer need hot water. As a result, they’re more efficient than storage tank water heaters since they don’t suffer any energy loss while keeping hot water on standby. However, choosing the right size tankless water heater doesn’t work the same way as it would for a storage tank model.
To choose the right size tankless water heater, you’ll have to determine your home’s peak hot water flow rate. This represents how many gallons per minute of hot water your home requires during times of maximum demand. For example, if you have multiple people in your home taking showers simultaneously, it will cause a high hot water flow rate. The same is true if you use large, water-dependent appliances at the same time.
Once you’ve worked out your peak demand flow rate, you’ll need one more bit of information to choose the right size tankless water heater. It’s the average temperature of the water coming into your home. The reason you need to know this is that if your home’s incoming water is especially cold, you’ll require a more powerful tankless water heater to compensate.
Then, to choose your tankless water heater, you just need to find a model that can produce a sufficient flow rate and temperature rise, given your incoming water temperature. The temperature rise represents the difference between your incoming water temperature and how hot you’d like your water to be. For reference, it’s normally possible to find a tankless, gas-fired water heater that can provide a 70-degree temperature increase and up to a five-gallon-per-minute flow rate.
If your home needs more hot water than a single tankless water heater can provide, there’s a solution for that. You could divide your home’s hot water pipes into two or more zones and install multiple water heaters to serve each of them. However, be aware that doing so could increase your upfront costs compared to choosing a storage tank water heater.
Your Local Water Heater Experts
If your American Fork home needs a new water heater, Gunthers Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing can help. We offer affordable water heater replacement services, along with comprehensive plumbing services, too. We can handle anything the water infrastructure of your home requires. Plus, we also offer HVAC installation, repair, and maintenance services as well. And if that’s not enough, we also offer indoor air quality, ductwork, attic fans, and commercial plumbing work, too.
When you need a water heater in American Fork, call the experts at Gunthers Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing right away!