Not all water heaters are built the same, and even the seemingly smallest feature could mean a big difference in performance. Before choosing a random water heater for your home or business, consider a few feature categories that can may or may not work well for you.
Water Capacity Can Change The Hot Water Supply
Although modern water supplies seem like a convenient, instant and plentiful supply, hot water is not always a guarantee. The annoying experience of hot water suddenly turning into cold water from lengthy showers is because the supply of hot water has been used up before more water can be heated up.
As you use the hot water, a steady supply of groundwater (which is often near the outdoor temperature) continues to enter the water heater. If your shower uses more water than the water heater can heat, the cold water enters the system with little to no change.
The size of the water heater depends on your water dispensing devices (shower heads and faucets) and how long you plan on showering. A good way to figure out the size of the water needed is to understand the following variables:
To find out how long it takes to use up all of your hot water, divide X by Y. After this time, it's best to turn off the shower until the water heater has time to heat up again. Although the actual time to heat can change if you still have some hot water in the tank, this is a measurement for heating a full tank. This time can be found on the water heater itself or by contacting the manufacturer. You can even measure the time yourself with a thermometer and a stopwatch.
Water Heater Energy Source
Times change, and so do fuel costs. Decades can go by with one source of energy being more expensive than the other, but your specific area's fuel or power source can mean a big difference in cost.
For many people in 2015, electricity may be more cost efficient than gas-powered water heaters. People in rural areas may not have the option to use electrical water heater or may have a much cheaper gas supply, which can make gas more cost-savvy.
Solar power is always an option, but you need to be aware of the upfront costs. The cost of solar panels is not just for the panel material, but an entire photovoltaic system. This means that a panel needs to absorb sunlight, convert it into usable energy (a process that can be done by single unit panels, but this is not a guarantee with all models) and a battery.
The battery system or battery cell is crucial, as it can allow you to use a backup source of power when the sunlight isn't optimal. Instead of waiting for sunlight, you can store a charge and simply recharge what you use.
Contact a hot water tank specialist to choose between different water heater and tank systems that offer better options for your unique situation.
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