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Hot Water Needs
Written by Elizabeth Wood
Editor In Chief, United Home Improvement

A home's hot water supply often gets taken for granted. Unless of course, something happens one day and you realize that hot shower is no longer available. In order to maintain a sufficient hot water supply, you need to take the time to consider your system. By doing so, you will also learn ways to cut your energy cost.

Traditional water heaters use a storage tank to hold heated water until it is needed. They typically run off of natural gas, but electric and propane heaters are also common. In addition, tank less water heaters are available. They operate by routing water to where it needs to be instead of storing it.

When installing a hot water system, it is important to take into account your family's needs. Size does matter when it comes to hot water. Not only should you consider the amount of bathrooms, but also dishwashers and washing machines. Seriously consider your family's lifestyle.

Generally, the size of your heater depends on the amount of bathrooms in your home, the size of your bathtubs, and the amount of people that will be using water. 30 to 40 gallon heaters will typically supply a one bathroom home. As the amount of bathrooms increase, the size of your heater needs to increase.

Keep in mind that electric water heaters require more time to heat, and will therefore need a larger tank to store the water, as opposed to gas heaters. For this reason, homes that would require a 50 gallon gas heater will need an larger electric one.

If you are noticing that there isn't enough hot water during your showers and such, you may need to upgrade to a larger tank, or install a second water heater to provide more storage space.
In addition, there are some easy tips to conserving energy and saving on cost. Below are a few suggestions:

• Do your best to adjust the thermostat to the lowest temperature. Generally, 60°C is a comfortable temperature for the entire family.

• Make sure to replace washers on leaking tabs so that water is not being wasted.

• Replace shower heads with “shower saver” heads. They use less water then traditional shower heads.

• Run full loads on washers and dishwashers.

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