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Three Steps to Take When Choosing a New Water Heater

Water heater

Posted: June 6, 2018

If your conventional water heater (one with a storage tank) is nearing its 10th birthday, statistics show that you will probably have to replace it soon – especially if you see leaks near its base or detect other warning signs that your water heater is on its last legs.

But what goes into choosing a new water heater? Here are three steps to take when looking for a new water heater for your North Carolina home.

Step 1: Learn about your current water heater

One of the best places to start when it comes time to upgrade your water heater is to know the specifications of model you currently own.

If you own a conventional water heater, most of its important specs can be found on its nameplate, including its:

Jot these down, or take a quick picture of the nameplate with your smart phone, so you’ll have them ready when it comes time to shop for a replacement. Other helpful information about your water heater (most of which you can find in your owner’s manual or online) include its dimensions, energy efficiency, and recovery rate (how long it takes to heat a tank full of stored water).

If you own a tankless water heater, the two most important specifications you’ll need to know are its hot water flow rate (the speed at which it can deliver hot water) and its efficiency.

Step 2: Know how much water you use

Matching (also called sizing or right-sizing) your water heater to your home’s water heating load is the key to keeping hot water flowing for as long as you need it – and to keeping your energy bills low, too.

To size a propane water heater, you need to know three things: the capacity (for a storage model) or hot water flow rate (for tankless model – see above), the peak demand of your system, and the approximate inlet temperature of water coming into your house.

For more details on calculating peak demand and right-sizing your water heater, check out this helpful article from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Step 3: Think T.C.O.

When comparing water heater models, it’s important to consider not just the purchase price of the equipment, but the Total Cost of Ownership for your water heating system.

For example, a tankless system might cost significantly more than a conventional water heater up front, but it will also save you 30 percent on your monthly energy bill, cost less to maintain, and last nearly twice as long as any model that includes a storage tank.

Choosing a propane-fired model over one powered by electricity will also save you money in the long run because of the considerable difference in the price of the fuels, despite the fact that up-front costs on the two units would likely be comparable.

The bottom line

Since water heating accounts for 20 percent of your home energy usage – more than any piece of home comfort equipment besides your home heating system – it pays to choose carefully. Do your research – then call a pro to help you make the best choice possible.

And don’t forget to have your water heater installed by licensed, bonded professionals!

Ready to replace your water heater but not sure what to choose? We can help! Contact Parker Gas today for a FREE, no obligation estimate on a water heater replacement or water heater upgrade!