3 Reasons You Will Need A Well-Functioning Water Heater This Winter

The freezing temperatures this winter might bring you chapped skin and numb fingers when you are outdoors, but you shouldn't have to be cold when you are indoors. Here are three reasons you need a working water heater to make your winter a much warmer experience.

Floor Radiant Heat

Using your hot water heater to heat the radiant heat tubes in your home's floor is a great way to heat your home. Your home water heater heats the water that is pumped through a system of pipes buried under your flooring. This type of radiant heat in your home's floors is more efficient than baseboard heating and usually more efficient than forced-air heating. 

Besides not having to deal with vents that blow dust around your home, radiant heating is a much more even heating. Because radiant heating works by radiating up from your floor's surface, every nearby surface absorbs the heat, which makes everything warm. Radiant heating makes it so you don't have to walk on cold bathroom floors anymore. Forced air only heats the air, not other surfaces. 

Also, the heat from a radiant heating floor stays near the floor and in the living space that you occupy, so you get the full benefit of the heat. Forced air heat tends to rise up to the ceiling where you can't enjoy it.

Hot Shower or Bath

Having hot water available in your home can be helpful in several situations, including for hot showers and baths. During winter, it is a luxury to have a hot shower or bath after coming in from the cold, or any other time you want to enjoy a warm relaxing bath or shower. Just make sure you have enough capacity in your water heater and the water temperature is set properly.

You have the option to turn your water heater's thermostat up to 150 degrees F or more. This would give you super-heated water anytime you need it, but you would run the risk of burning your skin while increasing your utility bill. For this reason, the safest temperature to set your water heat on is 120 degrees. This will adequately supply your home's hot water needs and you will be able to warm your cold bed with a hot water bottle you have filled from your sink faucet.

It is also important to make sure your water heater is large enough to heat all the water for your hot water use. This includes shower, baths, and any other hot water used in washing dishes and clothes. Environmental standards require today that shower heads are produced to allow no more than two and a half gallons per minute. Many shower heads pump out even less water per minute, depending upon their water use rating.

To estimate your home's hot water use during peak use hours, you might choose to use an average of two gallons per minute of shower water usage. An average shower that lasts five minutes would use ten gallons of hot water. If four family members use the shower consecutively, then you will need at least a forty gallon capacity hot water heater. You may need a slightly larger water heater if you wash dishes or clothes at the same time.

Bath Towel Heaters

As soon as you get out of your hot shower or bath, the comfort of having a heated towel waiting for you can make a cold winter more bearable. 

A heated towel rack in the bathroom can be connected to your home's plumbing by a licensed plumber. This gives it access to your hot water heater, which heats the water that is pumped through the racks on the towel heater. You can program the thermostat to come on a specific time of day when you will be showering or bathing so that your towel will be warm for when you are ready to dry off.

A water heater that warms you and your home in these three ways is definitely worth having this winter.