Every home needs a method of heating water for a variety of functions, from showers to washing dishes. For the vast majority of people, this comes in the form of a water heater. Whether electric or gas, your home’s water heater is meant to provide a consistent stream of hot water for all your needs.
However, it can be difficult to decide exactly which size is right for you, and with heaters ranging anywhere from 30 gallons all the way up beyond 80, consider the following points when determining which size of water heater will fulfill your needs.
How Many People Are In Your Home?
Getting the size of your water heater right is important; if you do not, you will constantly be struggling with your water turning cold before you are ready. One of the easiest ways to determine how many gallons your water heater should be is to go by the number of people who are using the hot water.
This calculation is based on water usage averages; if you have someone in your home who showers for an hour, or if you require hot water for unique uses throughout the day, this estimate may not be exactly accurate for you.
However, in general, a home with one to two people does just fine on a water heater ranging between 30 to 40 gallons, with the lower end geared more toward those who enjoy quick showers or shower at different times.
Two to three people function best on heaters between 40 and 50 gallons, and three to four people range from 50 to 60 gallons. Once five or more people are using the hot water heater, you will likely need to consider a large tank ranging from 60 to as many as 80 gallons.
What Is Your Peak Hot Water Usage?
Using the number of people in your home, you can at least get a benchmark from which to start your more detailed calculations. Next, evaluate your peak hot water usage. Water heaters, no matter whether they are electric or gas, take time to heat water; you cannot keep using hot water ad infinitum.
However, if there are long breaks (typically of an hour or more) between hot water uses, you will tend to need only a small heater. Families in which everyone showers around the same time have very high demand.
Thus, consider when your “peak” hot water usage is during the day. For many, it is in the morning when everyone is taking a shower before work or school—and showers are the most hot water-intensive activity your home is likely to bear. Your busiest hour is what will inform the size of hot water heater that you purchase.
The average shower uses 2.1 gallons per minute. However, do not forget any hand washing, shaving, washing clothes and other tasks that may also be occurring during your busy time.
Evaluate The First Hour Rating
Each hot water heater will provide a “first hour rating,” which is how much hot water it will be able to provide in that first hour after it has successfully heated all of the water it contains. After this first hour, the number of gallons of hot water it can produce decreases—which is why you are evaluating your peak hour to make your decision.
Choose a water heater whose first hour rating is within about two gallons of your peak usage to ensure that you always have enough water. Gas water heaters tend to have a slightly higher first hour rating than their electric counterparts, but there are pros and cons to each type.
A professional plumber who is knowledgeable in water heaters can help you to understand which type of water heater is right for you—though in general it is best for your budget to remain with the same type as your home is currently set up for.
Get Help From The Professional Plumbing Experts To Make The Right Choice
Whether your hot water heater has begun to leak and needs replacement or you are simply finding that your hot water needs are not being met with your current system, an expert can help you make the right choice when it comes to what size water heater you need.
Contact the pros at Baumbach Plumbing & Remodeling, LLC. We would be happy to talk you through the potential sizes that may work for your situation, as well as whether electric or gas is a good fit. Reach out to schedule an appointment to talk to an expert and get set up with the right amount of hot water for you.