Whether it’s for a single bathroom sink, a breakroom or an entire hotel, restaurant or apartment complex, every business needs a water heater. Small businesses with a single bathroom, and maybe a small breakroom, might get by with a large residential unit. Larger businesses with higher water usage need a commercial unit. The question is how do you determine which commercial water heater is the right choice for your business?

Size Matters, Sort Of

A common misconception is that the size of the water heater determines the amount of hot water produced. The truth is that both the storage capacity and the power affect hot water availability. The following checklist will help you determine how much water your business needs, so you know what “size” water heater you need.

  1. How many fixtures (showers, sinks, washing machines, dishwashers, pools, etc.) do you have?
  2. Is your business location affected by seasonal changes? Do those changes affect water temperature?
  3. What are your business hours? Usage for 24/7 will differ from a 9 to 5 business.
  4. What are the local venting restrictions and/or requirements?
  5. Smaller businesses might be fine with a 100-gallon tank while a facility like a hospital may require an 10,000-gallon tank. However, storage capacity may not be as important as heating capacity. Once you’ve analyzed your hot water needs, consider these factors as well:
  • Small commercial water heaters produce around 500,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units)/hour
  • Mid-sized commercial water heaters produce between 1,000,000 and 2,000,000 BTUs/hour
  • Large commercial water heaters produce 2,000,000 or more BTUs/ hour

Making the Right Choice

Tank size and heating capacity are major considerations, but you also need a good warranty and a trusted professional to ensure the unit is installed according to local codes and regulations. Lastly, splurge a little on a high-efficiency, energy- efficient unit. You’ll save money in the long run.