A water heater is one of the most important and complex fixtures to install in a house. Hot water is a big part of our daily lives, so a quality water heater, like those from the AO Smith catalog, is vital. There are a ton of options to consider – do you want to replace an electric tank heater, or are you going for a tankless heater powered by gas? How much space do you have? How much hot water are you planning to use? With all of the factors to consider, the water heater buying process can become a hard equation to solve.
We can simplify the process with the AO Smith XPERT™ Water Heater Selection Tool (click this link to access the tool on SUPPLY.com). Just enter a few details about the shower experience you want, and the Selection Tool will recommend the best water heaters for your needs. To show you how it works, we entered our own details into the tool – follow along below!
Product Selector Tool
1. Shower Length
Nobody likes a cold shower! The length of time that hot water lasts is, of course, a direct effect of the water heater. If you’re looking for hot water to last a while, larger gallon tanks or tankless heaters are the way to go.
2. Back-To-Back Showers
With a decent water heater, hot water probably won’t run out after one shower. If you’re installing a heater for a single-person home, a basic option will be fine. However, if you’re planning for a household that will need multiple showers back-to-back (the twins after soccer practice, the family after a day at the beach), hot water will need to last a while.
3. Multiple Showers
The ability to take multiple showers is the next level after taking back-to-back showers. This requires the use of larger amounts of hot water at the same time.
4. Bathtub Size
The maximum approved flow rate for a showerhead is 2.5 gallons per minute, so a 30 minute shower will use approximately the same amount of water as a large bathtub. 30 minutes is considered an “epic” length (see step 1), so most bathers will use more water than most showerers. If a household is planning to take a lot of baths, it is important to take into account.
5. Body Spray System
Here you can really start to customize based on your exact shower. The more body sprays and the higher the flow rate of your showerhead, the more hot water you will need.
6. Electric, Natural Gas, or Propane?
Your answer to Step 6 may depend on the current set-up. However, if you’re looking for a water heater for a new build, gas heaters are typically more expensive up-front than electric but are more efficient in the long run.
7. Space Dimensions
If you’re not planning to add extra space to accommodate the water heater, you will be limited by options that fit. Fortunately, AO Smith offers water heaters of all shapes and sizes!
Colder temperatures and higher altitudes can affect water heaters, so adding your general location will help determine the best heater for your region.
Above you see the top three water heaters that were calculated as our best matches. Here the tool lists exactly what this water heater can provide for us, shower-wise, along with the estimated energy cost – pretty cool! We are also given the top three options if we want more hot water, and the top three options with a lower energy cost. Like what you see? Shop these options here:
The tool makes a few assumptions based on how much information is entered. If you want to change anything, go to the “Advanced Settings” (on the results page, not pictured), and you can enter new information like Shower Flow Rate or Tank Set Point (below).
If you’re not installing the heater yourself, show this tool to your professional – they will love the extra help in determining the best heater for your space. If you are installing the heater, use the results of this tool as a good starting point but keep in mind that there are more options out there to explore. If you choose to install a tankless water heater, check out our AO Smith Tankless Installation Walk-Through for best practices. No matter which AO Smith water heater you end up with, the quality is guaranteed to be unparalleled.
Have questions about the Product Selector or AO Smith Water Heaters? Shop below or give our product experts a call at 877-781-3114!