A critical household heating appliance is your hot water heater. Powered by electricity or gas, the hot water heater warms cold water and prepares it for use in your showers, baths, washing machines and dishwashers. If you own a house, chances are you take your hot water heater for granted. They sit quietly in your basement and go about their business of heating water without a lot of fuss. But since water heating can account for as much as 25% of the energy consumed in a typical home or business, and with the cost of heating on the rise, selecting the best water heater has to be your highest priority.
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With our supplier Rheem Water Heaters, we offer the most energy efficient water heaters on the market today. As the second largest energy user in the home, it is important that you choose the most energy efficient water heater possible.
How Do Hot Water Heaters Work?
Whenever you turn on a hot water faucet or have a hot shower, heated water is drawn from the top of the tank and is replaced by cold water that is carried to the bottom through the dip tube. When the water temperature drops, a thermostat activates a heat source – either a burner in a gas model or two heating elements in an electric model. A gas heater has a flue running up the center and out the top to vent deadly gasses. An electric heater needs no venting. In both, an anti-corrosion anode attracts corrosion that would otherwise attack the tank’s walls.
Selecting a Hot Water Heater
Most of us don’t bother shopping for a new water heater unit until its too late. While most us will buy a water heater because it is the right size, the most important factor is probably the EF and FHR ratings. The higher these ratings are the better. Whether you’re replacing an old hot water heater or installing one in a new house, it’s important to look at some of the options available:
- Type – there are two main types of conventional storage hot water heaters: electric and gas water heaters. Choosing between them depends on how much you want to spend, whether you have access to gas, how much electricity costs and where you live.
- R-Value: Since conventional models store the heated water in a tank, energy can be wasted even when a hot water tap isn’t running. Called standby heat loss, this cannot be avoided unless you go with a tankless water heater. Your only other option is to insulate the tank yourself with a water heater blanket or look for models with tanks that have a thermal resistance (R-Value) of R-12 to R-25.
- Capacity – decide what size or capacity of water heater you’ll need. Choose the capacity based on the number of users, the number of showers or bathtubs, and whether or not you have a dishwasher. We stock models ranging from 20 to 80 gallons with the 40 to 50 gallon models being the most popular.
- Construction – try to choose a water heater made with stainless steel to eliminate corrosion at tank openings.
- Self-cleaning – reduces lime and sediment buildup.
- Recovery Speed – the faster a heater can replace hot water, the more energy it will use. If you are constantly in need of a larger supply of hot water, the better the recovery speed should be.
- First Hour Rating: find out what the first hour rating (FHR) is to get an idea of how much hot water will be available during consistent use. Once you decide a water heater, calculate your household’s peak-hour demand and look for a unit with an FHR in that range.
- Energy Factor: A units energy factor (EF) rating is based on how much heat is transferred to the water, standby heat loss in an hour, and any losses of heat through cycling. Try to buy the unit with the highest EF rating. EF ratings for most water heaters are in the range of 0.5 – 0.95. Electric water heaters have an EF ranging from 0.7 to 0.95, while gas and a few high efficiency water heaters have a rating from 0.5 to 0.7.
- Total Cost: try to estimate how much a heater will cost over its lifetime. For instance, what is the initial investment cost, running or operation costs and maintenance costs if there are any.
- Installation: Avoid installing the water heater in an unheated basement and try to keep the length of the pipes that run to your bathroom and kitchen as short as possible.
- Warranties: Extended warranties and new energy saving designs are worth considering. Most water heaters have an 8 to 10 year warranty and some are warranted not to leak for as long as you own your home.
Rheem began manufacturing water heaters in the 1930s and has developed a highly respected product line and a distribution network throughout North America. Today, Rheem is a leading North American producer of water heaters that are used for residential and commercial applications and operate on a variety of fuels. All Rheem water heaters have the Rheem Mains Pressure Advantage built in. This means you will always have a water heater designed to provide a steady, hot and strong flow of water at mains pressure to more than one tap at the same time.
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