Replacing Your Water Heater: 5 Factors To Consider
Posted on August 16, 2012
If you’re considering replacing your water heater, don’t base it on cost or brand name alone. There are five factors to consider before you buy. These include:
- Energy Factor
- Fuel type
- Overall cost
- First-hour rating
The Energy Factor (EF) refers to the unit’s overall energy efficiency. This is based on the amount of hot water the water heater produces per unit of fuel it consumes over a typical day. This is calculated by examining the following:
- How efficiently the heat provided by the energy source is transferred to the water.
- The heat lost each hour from the water stored in the tank, compared to the heat content of the water.
- The heat lost as the water is circulated through the tank and the pipes.
Higher EF numbers don’t always mean savings in operating costs. A water heater that meets your household’s hot water requirements is also important. To choose the right size, determine the time of day your household uses the most hot water and select a unit with a first-hour rating that will meet that demand.
The first-hour rating, or the number of gallons of water the water heater can provide per hour, is used to determine what size is right for you. You’ll need one that matches your peak hour demand within one to two gallons. The EnergyGuide label lists this rating, and all new conventional storage units will have this label, or you can find it in the product literature provided by the manufacturer.
Once you know the size you need, consider the fuel or energy source it uses. Compare the cost of each source, its availability in your area and its cost.
After comparing fuel costs, determine the overall cost of the water heater by factoring in the annual energy consumption, the Energy Factor of the unit, and the cost of the fuel type or energy source.
For expert advice on buying a new water heater if you live in or around Wichita, contact Comfort Systems. We’ll help you make the right choice for your home, both with regard to energy savings and home comfort.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about water heaters and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.