Water heaters are an integral part of your Sun City West, Arizona, home’s comfort system. However, many homeowners don’t know a lot about how their water heater system works and what features to look for when trying to pick out the perfect one. In this guide, we’ll help you evaluate your options so you can select the right water heater for your home.

Types of Water Heaters

The three main types of water heaters are standard tank, tankless, and heat pump systems. Standard tanks are the most common and work by storing a fixed amount of water that’s heated and pumped through your plumbing system. The tanks are large metal cylinders and are commonly found in utility closets or garages.

The second type, tankless systems, are increasing in popularity. They sacrifice the holding tank of standard heaters to provide immediate hot water. Depending on the size of the system, you can get continuous hot water without worrying about the tank depleting. Some systems are made for “on-demand” hot water beneath sinks; others are for the whole home.

Finally, heat pump systems look like standard traditional water heaters, complete with the large storage tank. However, they’re equipped with compressors that use the heat of the surrounding ambient air temperature to heat the water. Although this is the slowest system, having one of these can provide significant energy savings.

First-Hour Ratings

First-hour ratings, often displayed prominently on the tank, indicate how many gallons of hot water the heater can produce within the first hour of operation at the appropriate temperature. Homeowners can make a temperature selection via a thermostat, much like they do with their HVAC unit. The first-hour rating will vary depending on the style of water heater you have, its capacity, and its efficiency. This rating is a great way to get an idea of what demands your water heater can handle. If your family frequently uses a lot of hot water, you may want to consider investing in a higher-rated system.


Efficiency is another important consideration when looking at water heaters. In general, tankless water heaters tend to be the most efficient systems available. By superheating water as it passes through, the system doesn’t have to work as hard to heat a large amount of water. Standard tank systems are among the lowest on the efficiency rating scale, although selecting an Energy Star-rated system will boost that number. Heat pumps fall in the middle of efficiency ratings. Their ratings are closer to tankless systems, providing a high amount of energy efficiency. However, they run off electricity, which typically costs more than gas, leading to an increase in cost.

Recovery Rate

Recovery rate applies primarily to heat pump systems and standard tank systems and refers to the amount of time it takes for the unit to heat water. A higher recovery rate is often inversely related to capacity. In other words, the more water a system can hold, the longer it takes for the unit to heat the water. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, but the inverse relationship is a good thing to keep in mind when selecting a new unit. Deciding whether it’s more important to have immediate hot water or a large amount available in reserve can affect your purchasing decision.


Finally, capacity refers to how much water your hot water system can hold. Again, capacity has an inverse relationship with recovery rate. Therefore, it’s important for you to select a capacity that not only matches your desired recovery rate needs but can also supply your house with an appropriate amount of water. With the move toward homeowners purchasing tankless heaters, capacity is becoming less of a concern when it’s time to make a purchasing decision. But capacity is still important for homeowners who can’t afford the higher up-front costs of tankless heaters and must install standard tank water heaters.

Canyon State Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing can help you with all your water heater installation needs and offer suggestions on the best option for your home. Call us at 623-201-5118 to set up a consultation.

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