The average conventional water heater (a water heater that has a storage tank) lasts about 10 to 12 years on average – so if yours is entering or has passed into its second decade of use, you could be due, or even overdue, for a water heater upgrade.
But how do you go about choosing a new water heater? Let’s take a look at three key steps.
1. Learn about your current water heater.
A good place to start your search for a new water heater is by learning more about your old one. 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 smartphone, 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 owners manual or online) includes 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…more on this later) and its efficiency.
2. Monitor how much hot water you use.
Next, you’ll need to learn what sized water heater you’ll need. Matching the size of your water heater to the water heating load of your home is critical to keeping hot water flowing as long as possible for as little money and energy as possible.
To size a propane water heater, you need to know three things
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.
3. Think total cost of ownership, not just purchase price.
When comparing water heater models, it’s important to consider not just the purchase price of the equipment, but how much your equipment will cost you over its lifespan.
For example, a tankless system might cost significantly more than a conventional water heater initially, but will save you every month on your energy bill, cost less to maintain, and last nearly twice as long as a conventional water heater.
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.
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 water heating expert in central North Carolina to help you make the best choice possible.
Ready to replace your water heater but not sure what to choose? We can help! Contact James Oxygen today for a FREE, no-obligation estimate on a water heater installations in Hickory, Boone, North Wilkesboro and Marion counties, NC!