If you are looking to upgrade your hot water heater, you have lots of options. Today’s models include high-efficiency styles such as those run by solar energy or a hybrid heat pump. Standard gas and electric water heaters are sold by numerous manufacturers, giving you a wide variety of choices. You can even get one fueled by liquid propane. Finding the right type and size of water heater is important not only for your budget but also for the level of comfort you experience when using your hot water.
Deciding Which Tank Size to Purchase
The standard water heater is available in different sizes, ranging from 10 to 20-gallon capacities. The size that you should install depends on two factors – the size of your family and the amount of space you have available for the heater. Larger families might prefer to purchase a larger tank size to accommodate a higher demand for hot water, while smaller families can probably get by using the 10-gallon size.
Things to Consider When Purchasing Storage Tank Water Heaters
One of the most popular styles of water heaters, the storage tank, is designed to deliver hot water on demand. While its storage capacity is the first feature that you will consider, it is important to find out what the recovery rate for it is. The recovery rate refers to the number of gallons of water that the tank can heat in a single hour. If you intend to use a lot of hot water, then you need a tank offering a high recovery rate.
If energy costs are a consideration, which they typically are for most families, choosing a water heater that offers high efficiency and lower than average heating costs over the course of a year is your best option. You can find all of this information out by looking at the EnergyGuide label attached to the model that you are looking to buy.
If you are purchasing a secondary storage tank, a smaller size might be sufficient for your needs. For example, if you want a source of hot water for exterior buildings, such as garages and workshops, a utility water heater ranging in size from 2.5 to 10 gallons should be more than sufficient.
Maintenance Tips for Your Water Heater
Whether you have an electric or a gas water heater, performing an annual maintenance checkup can considerably extend its lifespan. Typically, a conventional water heater is designed to last as long as ten years. However, you do need to maintain your water heater properly in order for it to last that long. If you prefer not to do the work yourself, you can call a San Antonio plumber to arrange for an annual checkup.
Basically, you want to give the tank a mini-flush. To do so, you should start by turning down the temperature setting so that it at least 115 degrees but less than 120 degrees.
Next, you should check the T & P valve (temperature and pressure) to ensure that it is working properly. Lift the lever part of the way, release the lever, and watch to see if it snaps back in place quickly. As it does so, you should hear water going into the drain tube. If you don’t hear his gurgling noise, your T & P valve needs to be replaced.
Finally, you are going to remove the sediment buildup from the bottom of the tank to help improve the efficiency of your water heater. Place a bucket beneath the valve that allows you to drain some of the water from the tank. Open the valve and allow a few gallons of water to flow into the bucket. Close the valve and empty the bucket.