A conventional storage water heater holds from 20 to 80 gallons of water, which is heated when it enters the tank. The water can be heated by a gas or electric power source.
Standby heat loss can occur when the hot water is sitting in the tank and isn’t being used, unless the unit is heavily insulated. For this reason, the conventional storage water heater’s operating costs will tend to cost more over its lifetime.
Be sure to choose the tank capacity that best fits your home or commercial property’s needs. You may be tempted to buy the 80 gallon tank to have the most hot water always available, however, the larger the tank the more expensive the unit and installation. In addition, the larger the tank the higher the cost to maintain the heated water in it consistently.
Conventional storage water heater Pros:
- Still the most common and popular style and most affordable
- 20 to 80 gallons of hot water available, depending on model size
- One correctly-sized conventional storage water heater is sufficient for simultaneous use of multiple hot-water demands (example: shower and dishwasher being used at the same time)
Conventional storage water heater Cons:
- Not energy efficient as operating costs (gas or electric) will cost more over lifetime due to standby heat loss
- Unit may require purchase of insulation blanket to increase energy efficiency
Sizing It Up
Since you do not want to buy too large or too small of a conventional storage water heater unit, you will need some idea of your home or office’s demands and some basic math skills to figure out the “first hour rating”. This number represents the maximum gallons of hot water it can provide per hour, and is found on the unit’s EnergyGuide label in the top left corner.
To find your home’s first hour rating, think about your busiest hour of a typical day at your home and how many of the following hot-water related scenarios are performed in that hour.
Using the provided estimated number of gallons for each activity and add them up:
Scenario Average Gallons of water per use # Times in 1 hour Total
Bath/Shower 10 x
Shaving 2 x
Hand Dishwashing 4 x
Automatic Dishwasher 6 x
Clothes Washer 7 x
At 8pm you run both the dishwasher and clothes washer while your husband shaves, and your kids get a hot bath: (1 dishwasher x 6 gallons) + (1 clothes washer x 7 gallons) + (1 shaving x 2 gallons) + (1 Bath x 10 gallons) = 25 gallons is your First Hour Rating
You would need to consider purchasing a conventional storage water heater that is +/- 2 gallons of your “first hour rating”.
Do you need assistance determining the best water heater for your home or business? Contact the experts at Elk Grove Village Sewer and Plumbing for our expert advice!