large commercial water tanksAll businesses need a commercial water heater, even if it’s just to heat the tap water in the bathroom. However, some businesses such as apartments, hotels, and restaurants require far more hot water than that used by a small retail shop or office. The wide range of hot water requirements for businesses means that the variety of commercial water heaters is greater than that of residential water heaters. 

Selecting the best water heater for a particular business, therefore, requires careful consideration of multiple factors, especially the size of the water heater’s tank and its heat usage. If either of these factors is insufficient, the business won’t have an adequate supply of hot water on demand. On the other hand, a water heater with a larger tank or heat usage than is required will waste money heating water it doesn’t need in addition to the unnecessary cost of a water heater that’s too large.

Hot Water Tank Storage Capacity

Businesses that need hot water to remain in operation must be able to deliver it to everyone who needs it, even during peak usage. After all, apartment owners can’t expect their tenants to stagger their shower times. Hospital staff can’t sit around waiting for the hot water to replenish. The same goes for schools, dormitories, large industrial facilities, and many other commercial facilities. Because every business has specific storage capacity needs, a small business might only need a 100-gallon hot water storage tank, while another might need to store 11,000 gallons or more.

Heat Capacity of Commercial Water Heaters

Surgens Using Hot Water at a HospitalA business’s dump load is one of the most important factors in determining the heating capability of its water heater. This parameter is the maximum rate at which a business can use hot water, which can be determined by turning on all of its hot water sources at once and setting them to their highest temperature. Dump load is typically measured in gallons per hour.

A water heater’s heating capacity is typically measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs) per hour, where a BTU is the amount of energy needed to increase the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Heat input determines the water heater’s recovery rate, which should be at least equal to the business’s dump load. Recovery rate is the rate at which the water heater is able to produce hot water, usually defined as 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

The standard assumption is that heating water to this temperature requires an increase of 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which means each gallon of hot water requires nearly 1,000 BTUs. The size of the storage tank doesn’t affect recovery rate, which is why commercial water heaters don’t necessarily need a large storage tank. A small tank will simply refill more often than a large tank.

The biggest difference between commercial water heaters is their capacity for producing heat, rather than their physical tank size.

  • Smaller commercial/industrial water heaters generate heat starting at about 500,000 BTU per hour.
  • Mid-range commercial / industrial models typically generate between 1,000,000 to 2,000,000 BTU per hour.
  • The largest commercial / industrial models start at 2,000,000 BTU per hour, and there is almost no limit in how large they can go from there.

Factors that Impact the Cost of Commercial Water Heaters

Large Residential Apartment BuildingsSeveral other factors account for the dramatic difference in price among commercial water heaters, even when they have storage tanks of similar size. Does your water heater only need to be able to operate at peak capacity for a few hours out of the day or 24/7? Those that need to be able to function at peak capacity continuously should be made of components of greater reliability.

Small commercial water heaters may only need to accept power from 120-volt and 240-volt sources. Larger commercial water heaters need to accept power with additional voltages, including 208 volts, 277 volts, and 480 volts, while some commercial water heaters must also accept three-phase power.

Typically, large commercial water heaters have longer manufacturer warranties than their smaller counterparts. In addition, the warranty of a commercial water heater usually requires it to be installed according to local building codes and other safety regulations. The warranty will also specify acceptable installation locations in most cases, depending on the manufacturer.

Learn More About Commercial Water Heater Pricing

When it’s time to replace a hot water heating system, it usually needs to be dealt with immediately. If your facility or business requires hot water, you can’t afford to go weeks without it. That’s why we’ve completely restructured our logistics and delivery departments; to meet this need.

We strive to stay abreast of the latest innovations and advances and can equip our tanks with the latest automated controls. We have several standard water heater sizes and can build a custom water heating system based on a system that is being replaced. We can design whatever commercial hot water system that will best suit your needs and budget. Contact us to get pricing for our commercial water heater solutions.

Need help identifying which products will best serve your needs? Click on the Spec-Master button below and we’ll custom design the right solution for you.

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