Whether you’re in the restaurant biz or you own another kind of commercial property, your water heater is at the heart of a lot of activities that keep your business running smoothly. It can be a major setback to deal with replacing it once the time comes. Replacing it is enough of a task on its own; figuring out all the details that go into purchasing and installing one can create added stress to an already inconvenient situation.
Here at WM Buffington Co., we know a thing or two about water heaters for business owner properties. If you’re in the process of replacing your commercial water heater, let us help guide you through it!
Once you have a better understanding of the process, we would be happy to facilitate the installation! Give us a call to discuss our service options.
1. Gas or Electric?
Water heaters fall into two camps: gas and electric. Each has its own set of benefits and setbacks. The right choice for you will depend on your situation and specific needs. You’ll need to consider factors such as your budget, how much water you need to heat, and what your building is already set up to accommodate.
Gas heaters run on natural gas or propane. They typically work by igniting a burner within the tank to heat up a mixture of air fed into the tank and, of course, water. This type of heater requires a flue to vent out emissions created by this combustion process. They require a higher upfront cost and need regular maintenance to run smoothly but will typically be less expensive to operate.
Electric heaters are strictly fueled by electricity, as the name suggests. This type of water heater also uses a heating element within the water tank to get the job done – only it’s powered by a different source. Electric heaters tend to have a higher energy factor (EF) rating and a lower upfront price tag than their gas-powered counterparts. But they typically cost more money to operate. It’s also important to keep in mind that they won’t run during a power outage.
2. To Have a Tank or To Not Have a Tank?
The next consideration will be if you want to go with a tankless water heater or one with a tank. When deciding which one to go with, you’ll need to consider the space you want to put them in and how much money you want to spend upfront.
Water heaters with a tank are a standard in both residential and commercial buildings. They are sturdy and can provide large volumes of hot water. Most tanks can house anywhere from 20 – 80 gallons of hot water.
Tankless water heaters are mounted on a wall rather than holding preheated water. Most of these devices can provide around 2 – 5 gallons of hot water per minute. They work by shuttling water past heating coils to rapidly warm it on demand. Although they are pricey upfront, they are more energy-efficient so you’ll save over time. Just remember, this type of water heater won’t work without electricity.
3. Consider Your Space
There are a couple of variations of water heaters to choose from. You can have an electric heater with a tank, a gas heater without a tank, and every other combination of these subcategories. When deciding which one will be right for you, take a look at your existing space and what kind of heater it’s predisposed to support.
Most of the time, this is difficult to do if you are unfamiliar with water heater systems for commercial properties. We’d be happy to help you choose if you need a decision-maker.
If you have a small space, you’ll likely want to go with a smaller tank or a tankless model. If you have a lot of room to spare, you can go with a large tank or a tankless model. This can vary on how much you’re willing to spend upfront and in the long run.
Look at the energy and water hook-ups you already have in place. More times than not, it will be easier to simply choose a water heater based on what your building is already equipped for. But you can change these hook-ups if you choose to switch water heater types.
4. Keep your Business Needs In Mind
Do you run a kitchen that rapidly goes through hot water? Or perhaps you manage an office building that doesn’t use much hot water at all. Are you a gym with ten showers that get used constantly throughout the day?
When selecting a water heater it’s important to keep in mind how much hot water you truly need for your commercial building to run smoothly. Try to think of what your needs are as a business or building. If you don’t need a large supply of hot water, it doesn’t make a lot of sense for you to go for the largest, most energy-efficient tank. Instead, you might consider a smaller tank or tankless model.
5. Consider the Overall Cost
The more you change to your plumbing, the more expensive the installation process will become. The most cost-efficient option upfront will typically be to stick with the same water heater type you already have in your building.
If you’re picking out a unit for a new-build or you are looking for the most efficient long-term costs, you might want to consider a tankless model. But if you need the most water heating capabilities for the least amount of money, you might be better off with a gas water heater with a tank.
6. Lean On Your HVAC Professional
Picking out a commercial water heater is a multifaceted process with many considerations to keep in mind. Cost estimates are just estimates; the true cost could be much higher or lower than anticipated. You need to discern which type is right for you, which one will cost the least in the long run, and which will suit your business best. If your head is spinning with all the moving parts involved, get a professional opinion! They’re the ones doing the installation anyways so they can provide expert advice for your needs.
WM Buffington is proud to serve the Central Pennsylvania community with water heater expertise. If you need assistance picking out and installing a commercial water heater, don’t hesitate to reach out!