How To Choose A Hot Water Heater – By Size And Capacity

Hot water heater repair Charlotte

When choosing a hot water heater, you’ll need to consider what size (capacity) water heater you will need before you determine anything else. After you know what size you need, you can look into what each type of water heater will cost you to install and to run (energy costs over time). Once you’ve taken these factors into consideration, you’ll be ready to choose a new water heater.

This article addresses how to choose the right size hot water heater for your home.

Choosing The Right Size Water Heater For Your Household

Many people think they have to size a water heater by the size of their house, but really, this isn’t what’s important. What matters is how many people live in your household and how high the peak hot water demand is at your busiest hot water usage time of the day. It also matters if you’re sizing a tankless or traditional tank water heater.

First, Determine What Your Peak Hot Water Demand Time Is

Is it at 7:00 a.m., when all five of your family members are taking showers at the same time? Is it at 8 p.m., when you are running baths for all three kids plus the dishwasher and the washing machine?

To Size A Traditional Tank Water Heater

You’ll need to tally up the amount of hot water you need available during the hour of peak hot water usage each day. You can do this by adding up averages from a chart like this one (which gives average gallons of hot water used per one time usage for activity associated with appliance or faucet):

Water used in shower – 12 gallons per one-time use

Water used for one load of laundry – 32 gallons per one-time use

Water used for bath – 9 gallons per one-time use

Water used for sink – 4 gallons per one-time use

Water used for dishwasher – 14 gallons per one-time use

You’ll want to add up how many of these activities are performed during that peak hour of hot water usage to figure out how much hot water you need available at one time. Once you’ve got this number, you’ll know you need a hot water tank that can heat at least this much water at one time.

To Size A Tankless Hot Water Heater…

You’ll need to add up home many gallons per minute of hot water you need for your tankless water heater to produce at your peak hot water usage times. This will require calculating the flow rates of different faucets and showerheads to determine how much hot water you need available during those peak times.

Tankless hot water heaters have to heat the water on demand, so you’ll need to also factor in what temperature your water is before heating (usually about 50 degrees F) so you can determine what the temperature rise is (how much the water need to heat up) for the task required.

Your water is probably starting at 50 degrees and being heated (for most uses) to 120 degrees, although you’ll need to heat it to 140 degrees for the dishwasher. That means you need a temperature rise of 70 degrees for most tasks, but a temperature rise of 90 degrees for washing dishes.

Most gas-powered tankless water heaters can produce a flow rate of 5 gallons of hot water per minute (at a 70 degree temperature rise). Most electric-powered tankless water heaters can produce a flow rate of 2 gallons of hot water per minute (at the same temperature rise of 70 degrees).

Let Us Do The Math For You

Here at ER Plumbing, we’re water heater experts. We can quickly calculate out what size (capacity) water heater you need and what type of water heater will be most cost-efficient for your home. We’ll explain the different options so you know exactly what you’re getting. Then we’ll install the heater for you, so you’ll know you’re getting the right water heater, at the right price, installed by experts. If you ever have problems with your water heater, we’ll be available 24/7, year round, to set things right.

Need Charlotte Plumbing Services?

Are you interested in more information about gas hot water heaters? Need help with more details of how to choose a water heater that will be the right size and capacity for your home and budget? Looking to get tankless water heater prices?

Need assistance or advice regarding a Rheem water heater?

E.R. Services is open 24/7, 365 days a year. You don’t need to take time off work or wait until the morning because we never charge extra for nights or weekends. Just give us a call at 704-269-1066 or use our online contact form.

Learn more about Charlotte tank water heaters here.

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4 comments on “How To Choose A Hot Water Heater – By Size And Capacity

  1. Adam Golightly on

    My cousin has been thinking about getting a water heater for the home, so that he can enjoy hot showers when he gets home from work. He would really like to get the right type of heater from a professional in order to be more effective. Thanks for explaining how the size needed can depend on the type of heater, and how much water they use at one time.

    • David Parker on

      Naz, The range varies on amount of bathrooms, types of fixtures and appliances, install location, and gas pressure. An in home estimate would be best to answer your question properly but they range from 4,000 to 5,500 in our area.

  2. June Robinson on

    My husband and I are in need of a new water heater in our new home, so we really appreciate these tips. I like that you point out the importance of choosing one not only by size but by capability as well. I appreciate that you calculated how much it will take to function properly in different circumstances so that you know what size and capability you will need based on your home. I imagine this will really help us know what we need so that we have a better idea of what will be ideal. Thanks for sharing this!

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