Sizing Your Water Heater Maximizes Efficiency Potential
Like so many other factors in home energy efficiency, sizing a water heater is a question of balance: not too little and not too much. An undersized conventional storage model will heat too frequently and too long, wasting energy and perhaps still leaving you standing in a cold shower. A storage heater that’s too large will make hot water you’ll never use but always pay for. Fortunately, thanks to data displayed on the EnergyGuide label attached to every water heater, there’s a fairly easy way to size the correct unit to your individual household needs.
Follow these easy steps for sizing your water heater.
- Locate the heater’s first-hour rating on the EnergyGuide label. This specification refers to the amount of hot water a heater can deliver in an hour of continuous demand, starting with a full tank of hot water. The first-hour rating is influenced by the gallon capacity of the tank, the fuel source (gas or electricity) and the size of the burner.
- Determine your home’s peak hour demand. That’s the amount of hot water used by all sources in the home during the daily hour of the highest demand. Typical usage amounts per hour include 10 gallons for a shower, 2 gallons for shaving, 4 gallons for washing hands or preparing food, 6 gallons for an automatic dishwasher and 7 gallons for a clothes washer.
- Multiply each of the above amounts by the number of persons in the household to achieve a total per hour demand figure for each activity. Add them all together to arrive at the total peak hour demand.
- Check the first-hour rating on the EnergyGuide label to find water heaters that are within 2 gallons, plus or minus, of your peak hour demand to select a water heater of the proper size for your needs.
When you’re ready to upgrade, ask the experts at Sobieski Services for more information about properly sizing your water heater.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wilmington, Delaware and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems).
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