Whether you’re washing your hands or want to take a long hot bath, Estes Park homeowners want to be able to rely on their water heaters on a daily basis. Many water heaters come with a 12-year warranty, so if yours has been in service for a few years more than that, it might be time to start looking for a new one. When shopping for a new water heater, you can expect more energy-efficient models and depending on the size of the unit, you can see a fairly significant decrease in your utility bills. But where do you start looking for a new model? The water heater repair and installation experts at Ace Hi Plumbing offer some advice.
FHR and GPM
The first things to look at are the First-Hour Rating (FHR) for tank water heaters and the Gallons-Per-Minute (GPM) for tankless heaters. These will tell you how much water can be delivered to your faucet, showerhead, or washing machine in a given time period. Tankless, or on-demand water heaters have a rating for how much hot water it can heat up in a given time.
There are generally to capacity types, smaller than 55 gallons and over 55 gallons. If you have a smaller household that doesn’t need to be using multiple water sources at the same time (the shower and the washing machine), a smaller capacity will give you enough hot water for two showers, one shave, and one meal prep. A tank that is over 55 gallons is enough water for three showers, one shave, one meal prep, and one load of laundry.
Types of Water Heaters
This is the most popular type and is an insulated tank where water is heated and kept until it’s needed. When you turn on the shower, a pipe will run from the top to the shower. You can choose between natural gas or electric. Natural gas, though they tend to have a higher price in the beginning, will use less energy and costs less to run. Electric heaters tend to cost less to operate.
This variety of water heater uses coils to heat the water, which allows them to be more energy-efficient. The downside is that they only have a limited flow of hot water per minute. On the other hand, this feature makes them a great choice for households that don’t need to be pulling water for multiple uses at a time. Tankless heaters are also better for households that use natural gas, as electric may require an upgrade to the electrical system.
Heat Pump (Hybrid)
If you’re looking to really save on your utility bill, this could be a good option. These units collect heat from the air to warm up the water. The positive of hybrid water heaters is that installation is fairly simple and the ROI is quicker. The downside is that the climate needs to be warm enough to heat the water. So while these may work during the Estes Park summers, it may not be the best option during the winter season. These units can also take up more space, as they are typically seven feet tall and need a fair amount of space to capture the heat.
These water heaters use a cell that is mounted on your home’s roof, where it collects heat and transfers it to an antifreeze like fluid, which is then run to the water tank. As you can imagine, these systems only work where there is enough sunlight.
Water Heater Features
- Warranty: You will want a good warranty for whichever type of unit you choose. You can find warranties between three and 12 years and typically, the longer the warranty, the better the water heater.
- Drain Valves: Located at the bottom of the unit, these allow you to empty the tank when needed. Look for a heater that uses durable materials.
- Digital Displays: If you want to customize the water heater, a digital display will let you monitor the levels.
If you’re looking for a new unit, or if you’re in need of water heater maintenance, the team at Ace Hi Plumbing can provide you with the experience and knowledge you need. Your home’s water heater is an investment and should be researched thoroughly. If you have any questions, please give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.