Selecting a New Water Heater? Size it Right
Sizing is crucial when selecting a new water heater for your home. An undersized heater will fail to deliver enough hot water to meet demand, usually leaving someone in a cold shower. Oversized units waste energy by heating water that isn’t used, which cools in the tank before being heated all over again.
Each household’s hot water consumption differs, and there’s no one-size-fits-all heater that can accommodate every family. Fortunately, the EnergyGuide label provides important specs for a heater, including its first-hour rating (FHR). This figure expresses the amount of hot water in gallons the heater can deliver in an hour of peak demand, beginning with a fully heated tank. The FHR will vary among models according to the capacity of the tank, the kind of fuel utilized, the output of the burner or heating element and the unit’s overall energy efficiency.
When selecting a new water heater, start by figuring your home’s first-hour rating:
- Decide what time of day most hot water is consumed in the home.
- Figure the total hot water consumed during that hour. This can be determined by multiplying the average gallons of water for each activity times the number of people in the household. Some average gallon figures for typical activities include showers (10 gallons), shaving (2 gallons), hand washing dishes (4 gallons), using a dishwasher (6 gallons) and washing clothes (7 gallons).
- Multiply the gallons for each activity times the number of persons in the household, then add all results to determine the total demand during peak hour.
Check the EnergyGuide label for a heater with an FHR within 1 to 2 gallons of your household demand during peak hour.
At Sobieski Services, we’re ready with answers when you’re selecting a new water heater for your home. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems).
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