Thinking about getting a replacement water heater? Whether your old one is getting on in years or has simply stopped working, there are a few things you should know to check for when looking for a replacement.
Capacity of the Water Heater
On each and every heater, there is a yellow ‘Energy Guide’ label and one of the details it contains is the First Hour Rating (FHR) that essentially lets you know the number of gallons of hot water the heater can produce during an hour of heavy usage.
Different types of heaters have different FHRs. If you tend to use a lot of hot water on an hourly basis, you’ll need to either find a replacement water heater with a high FHR, or maybe even install a second water heater to handle the demand.
Efficiency of the Water Heater
Another detail on the yellow ‘Energy Guide’ is the Energy Factor (EF). The number that it displays refers to the percentage of energy that is converted into hot water. It will affect the cost of operating the heater and considering water heaters, on average, account for 15 to 20 percent of utility bills, saving a little bit would be a good idea.
Unfortunately, just because a water heater has a high EF it doesn’t mean that they are always the best option. It depends on the type of water heaters that are being compared too. For example, an electric water heater with a 0.8 EF would still be more expensive to operate than a gas water heater with a 0.6 EF – just because electricity costs more than gas.
On top of that, you also need to consider the fact that water heaters with high EF tend to be more expensive to begin with. If you want, you can calculate how long it will take to ‘make up’ the extra that you’ll have to spend to get a heater with a high EF – just to see if it is worthwhile.
Maintenance and Care of Water Heaters
Although the average lifespan of water heaters is 8 to 12 years, water heaters can actually last up to 30 years if properly maintained. It would take a plumber or HVAC professional to carry out the required maintenance, but it is well worth it since it’ll save you from having to spend more money on a replacement.
Some of the tasks that water heater maintenance encompasses includes draining the tank, inspecting the pressure relief valve as well as the combustion chamber or heating elements for corrosion, and checking the anode rods to see if too much core wire is exposed. Additionally, you should always keep the temperature of the water between 120 to 130 degrees as anything more than that will speed up corrosion.
By choosing the right replacement water heater and carrying out the proper maintenance and care, you should be set – at least for the next couple of decades or so!