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Buying The Right Water Heater

Purchasing the wrong water heater for your home can cause a significant amount of trouble and inconvenience. Buying too small of a water heater can lead to shortages of hot water, forcing you to deal with ice cold showers and faucets, and buying too large of a water heater can drive up energy costs from heating more water than you need.

The right water heater provides you with the right amount of water at an affordable price. Here are some guidelines for determining what water heater best suits your needs.

First, you need to determine if you prefer a tank or tankless water heater. Traditional water heaters use tanks, and they operate through maintaining a large volume of hot water to dispense throughout the home. Water heaters with tanks typically keep water around a constant temperature of 120ºF.

On the other hand, tankless water heaters only heat water as needed.  This makes them more energy efficient – however, you can draw more water than it can heat, making hot water less consistent.

Next, determine the amount of water you need for your choice of a tank or tankless water heater. For heaters with tanks, we suggest using the chart below created by the Home Depot:

No. of People in Household Gallon Capacity
1 – 2 23 – 36
2 – 4 36 – 46
3 – 5 46 – 56
5 or more 56 or higher

For tankless water heaters, we suggest you add up the gallons per minute (GPM) that every individual fixture and appliance needs and find the total GPM your house needs. The Home Depot’s chart below can give you an idea of how to rate each fixture and appliance in your home:

Fixture/Appliance Typical Flow Rates
Bathroom Faucet 0.5 – 1.5 GPM
Kitchen Faucet 3.0 – 7.0 GPM
Shower 1.0 – 2.0 GPM
Dishwasher 1.0 – 2.5 GPM
Clothes Washer 1.5 – 3.0 GPM

Finally, you need to consider the types of energy available to you. Water heaters typically use either electricity, natural gas, or propane as their energy source. Not all areas of the United States give access to all energy sources, so check with your local energy provider to determine the availability of the energy source for the water heater you want.

For more information about finding the right water heater, please contact us here or call us directly at (616) 303-7436.

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