There is nothing worse than getting in the shower and being blasted with ice-cold water! One cold shower is all it takes to get you looking for a new water heater. It might be confusing — 50-gallon, 80-gallon, electric, gas, smart — how do you even know where to start?
Don’t get stuck without hot water! Follow these tips to find the perfect water heater.
Tip 1: Power Preference
The type of energy available in your home will play a role in deciding which water heater you need.
Electric: Powered by electricity, electric water heaters are easy to install and often run more efficiently than those using natural gas. Electric water heaters have a slower recovery rate, making them ideal for smaller families who don’t have a need for excessive amounts of hot water. The electric water heater has a lower purchase price, but the cost of electricity makes the water heater more expensive to operate annually than one using natural gas.
Hybrid: Hybrid electric water heaters use compressor technology to consume less electricity, saving you money. They work by absorbing heat from the surrounding air and then transferring it to the water. This means that a hybrid water heater can produce the same amount of hot water as a standard electric water heater with less than half of the electricity! Hybrids require a larger upfront investment but pay for themselves fairly quickly.
Natural Gas: The natural gas models are less expensive to operate due to lower fuel costs. If you already have a gas line, installation is quick and easy. With a faster recovery rate — meaning that the water heats faster between uses — these units are ideal for large families that need a lot of hot water.
Liquid Propane: Liquid propane water heaters are for homes that get their energy source from a liquid propane tank. These models come with the same benefits of a natural gas water heater, with the energy coming from a propane tank instead of a gas line.
Tip 2: Get Smart
The Kenmore brand has launched smart water heater models that allow you to control and monitor your water heater from anywhere. Turn your water heater down when you leave for vacation, and turn it back up before you get home — all from your smartphone! This handy feature saves you time and money by ensuring you have plenty of hot water without waste.
Tip 3: Size Matters
Water heaters come in different shapes and sizes. Buy the size that best matches your family’s water usage. This can be measured by something called First Hour Rating, or FHR.
FHR is the estimate of how much hot water the appliance will deliver during a busy hour, such as first thing in the morning. Use the charts below to estimate the amount of hot water you will need during that time of day when family members have their own water usage agenda crammed into the same hour!
Average Gallons of Hot Water per Use
So let’s say that the first hour of the day includes four showers, one shave, one hand dishwashing and two loads of laundry for the household — you would need a tank size with an FHR greater than 60.
|Estimated Usage||Gallons of Hot Water Needed|
|Hand Dishwashing (1)||4|
|Laundry Washer (2)||14|
Tip 4: First-Rate Features
Glass-Lined Tank: A heavy-duty porcelain glass layer inside the tank protects against corrosion.
Digital Display: For those without smart technology, digital displays allow you to create custom settings and monitor usage, so you can be more informed about your water heater.
Long Warranty: Water heater warranties range from three to twelve years. The warranty covers the tank and parts, making it better to have a long warranty so you’re protected if parts wear down.
ENERGY STAR® Certified: This rating is given to appliances that save money AND protect the environment. The Kenmore brand has nine models that are ENERGY STAR® compliant.
These hot tips should take the worry out of finding the right water heater for your household. Now family members won’t have to take a cold shower again — unless they want to! And don’t forget about smart models that allow you to control and monitor your water heater from anywhere, saving you time and money.