The Water Heater Kings know best!

Ignoring your water heater might mean passing up an opportunity to gain some energy savings! You don’t want to miss out on all the savings options available, so we’re here to help.

However it’s heated, most of us turn on the faucet and don’t pay much attention to how the hot water arrives… until it doesn’t. We take the water heater in our homes for granted.

Water heater energy usage makes up about 18% of the average utility bill. You can find hot water heater energy savings in a few different ways. But knowing how to choose a water heater that’s energy-efficient from the beginning is the best way to lower your costs from the first time that heater kicks on.

How to choose a water heater

Selecting the right water heater for you is the first thing you should think about. There are plenty of options, but the things most important to take into consideration are:

Energy type for your home
  • Gas

  • Electric

  • 40 Gallon

  • 50 Gallon

  • Other

  • Conventional

  • Tankless

Energy Type For Your Home

Your home may have already decided for you whether you need a gas or an electric water heater. 1 In 4 homes throughout the U.S are all-electric, but there are plenty of homes here in the Inland Northwest that have a natural gas line. It can be harder in rural areas for a home to access natural gas, so if you are limited to all-electric, there are still plenty of options for you too!

If you’re not sure whether you have a gas or an electric water heater, it’s easy to find out. A key indicator – gas heaters have piping and electric heaters have a supply cord.  Another way is to check for a pilot light. All you have to do is remove your water heater’s access panel and if there is a blue pilot light (flame), you have a gas water heater. 

Gas Vs. Electric

If you do have a choice to put in a gas line or are wondering if you should go electric, here are a few pros and cons for each type:



  • Lower monthly energy costs

  • Heats water faster

  • High energy efficiency models available

  • Able to run during power outages


  • Higher up-front costs

  • More maintenance needed

  • More energy loss


  • Lower up-front costs

  • Less maintenance needed

  • Less energy loss


  • Higher monthly costs

  • Will not work during power outages

  • Doesn’t heat water as quickly


Now that you know whether you have/want a gas or electric water heater, you’ll have to choose a heater that is the right size for your family’s needs, whether it is a conventional or tankless heater.

Conventional tanked water heaters range, on average, from 20 – 100 gallons. You don’t want to end up with a water heater that is too big because then you’ll be using more energy than is needed, meaning fewer savings for you. 👎 On the contrary, if you get a water heater that is too small, you’ll still be using more energy because you’ll run out of warm water faster and have to wait for the heater to catch back up. You definitely don’t want to find out that your water heater is too small in the middle of a nice relaxing shower! 😬 That’s why the First Hour Rating is important.

Determine the FHR

The FHR is the measurement of how much hot water the conventional tanked heater will deliver during a busy hour, such as first thing in the morning. The FHR is always on the heater’s yellow Energy Guide label, but if you want to double-check it yourself, use the following formula:

  1. Allot 12 gallons of hot water per person in the household.
  2. Figure the home’s maximum occupancy as the number of bedrooms plus 1. For example, we have 4 bedrooms, so we add 1 and get 5. Now multiply this amount times the 12-gallon allotment and you end up with an FHR of 60 (gallons). That’s the minimum FHR that this home should need from its water heater.

Tankless Heater’s Gallons Per Minute (GPM)

A tankless water heater’s size is based on a flow rate of Gallons Per Minute (GPM). There is no FHR because there is no reheat time for the refilling water (since there is no tank to refill!). The GPM is based on a given heat rise (typically 25 or 50 degrees), and it ranges from 4 gallons per minute to 8 gallons per minute. A tankless heater that heats 4 gallons per minute can handle about 1 shower plus one appliance operating at the same time. A unit heating more than 7 gallons per minute can typically handle two showers and a large appliance.]

Pros and Cons of Tanked Vs. Tankless Water Heaters

Conventional Tanked Water Heater
Tankless Water Heater


  • Costs less up-front

  • Shorter installation time

  • Easy to change to electric if needed


  • Shorter lifespan

  • Take up more space

  • Has to be indoors

  • Not as energy-efficient


  • Energy-efficient

  • Takes up less space

  • Can be installed indoors or outdoors

  • Longer warranties


  • More expensive up-front

  • Longer installation time

  • May need major changes to install

Put That All Together

Now that you have a general idea of what size water heater you need, what energy type to use, and whether you want a conventional tanked or tankless water heater, that’s when the work starts! We can help you figure out all of the above, as well as take care of the entire installation process. We are The Water Heater Kings after all! If you’re interested in finding a more energy-efficient water heater through a company that prides ourselves on our quality service and our stellar technicians, Give us a call to find out more at (509) 535-3447 for service in Washington, or (208) 649-9991 in Idaho.

Contact Us.

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