Professional Plumbing Tips

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Water Heater First Hour Rating: What You Need to Know

When it comes to hot water heaters, ensuring you've selected the right size and type for your family is important, and part of that process is understanding First Hour Rating.

small electric water heater

What is First Hour Rating?

Your water heater's First Hour Rating (FHR), is the amount of hot water your water heater will supply per hour, starting with a full tank of hot water. The Federal Trade Commission now requires that FHR be present on energy guide stickers found on new appliances.

Why FHR is Important

The most important reason for understanding your water heater's FHR is to determine if it is the right size for you and your family. If you've ever experienced a shower getting gradually colder after the kids have showered, you know how much of a rude awakening having the wrong size water heater can be. Obviously, a lower FHR would not be as ideal for a family of four who use the shower each morning, as it would be for a single person or couple.

How Can You Judge What FHR You Need?

Consider the different ways hot water is consumed in your household. Dishwashers, washing machines, showers, baths, etc. and how often you use these items are all going to affect how much hot water your household needs. The Department of Energy has a helpful worksheet to help you calculate your home's FHR, as well as Peak Hour Demand (PHD).

How Does it Compare to Peak Hour Demand?

Peak Hour Demand is the busiest time of day for your water heater. This may be early in the morning when preparing for work/school or later in the evening when running the dishwasher, washing machine, and giving the kids a bath. FHR measures how much hot water your water heater provides whereas PHD is the time of day when the largest amount of hot water is consumed.

What Types of Water Heaters Provide Good FHR?

Storage water heaters are the most common in the U.S. today but there are many types to choose from. The fuel source (propane, gas, electric, oil) can also impact what type of water heater would be best for your house and family. There are hybrid gas water heaters with small storage tanks but powerful burners that can have very high FHRs.

The best way to know which water heater is best for you and your family is to consult an expert. At Brian Wear Plumbing, we are equipped to help you determine your family’s hot water needs and will ensure you get the right water heater for your life and home. For more information about our services, contact us today!

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