What Size Water Heater Do I Need? First-Hour Ratings & More
Estimating a Proper Water Heater Size
Believe it or not, the amount of people living in your home is a consideration you should take when selecting a water heater tank size. An average couple with 2 kids will require a hot water heater with a 36 to 46 gallon tank. On the other hand, a family with 3 to 5 people will need a 46 to 56 gallon water heater to ensure there is enough water for daily tasks such as taking a shower or washing the dishes.
A 23 to 36 gallon water heater will suffice for a single couple with no kids. If you have 5 or more people living in your house, you will need a 56 gallon hot water heater. Add 10 gallons per person in the household. To help you determine the correct water heater size for your house, we will be discussing the differences between first-hour ratings, recovery rates, and efficiency ratings.
The Water Heater First Hour Rating
You’ll also need to base the size of your water heater on the amount of water it can heat in a single hour—or how quickly the water heater can reheat the water. Calculate a first-hour rating that meets or exceeds the amount of hot water your household will need. This requirement is based on the activities that could simultaneously use hot water together at the busiest time of day.
Prior to determining the correct first-hour rating for your house, you will need to become familiar with the total amount of water that is consumed each day by individuals in your family. An average person uses close to 2 gallons of water in a single day to wash their hands. On the other hand, washing the dishes by hand uses a total of 6 gallons of water per person. Other types of activities that use a substantial amount of water each day include bathing, operating the dishwasher, and running the washing machine.
A single cycle of laundry can consume up to 30 gallons of water. To ensure you have enough hot water, you will be required to determine the total amount of water your family uses during the peak hour of usage. Once you determine the amount of water you require, choose a new water heater with a first hour rating that meets your needs. A hot water heater with a first hour rating of 80 is designed to create 80 gallons of warm water in an hour.
Ordinary Water Heater Sizes
Most homes already contain a 40 or 50 gallon water heater. You may see a larger tank when homes have demanding hot water features such as spas or hot tubs. There are many water heater tank sizes available: 40-gallon, 50-gallon, 66-gallon, 75-gallon, 80-gallon, and 120-gallon. If you’re wondering what size water heater you need, it’s important to consider the number of people in your household and the amount of water used by each person or at the busiest times of the day for the best estimate.
Water Heater Efficiency Rating
Your water heater efficiency rating is the amount of heat transferred from your unit’s heat source to your water. Electric water heaters have an efficiency rating of that varies from 88% to 95% while gas water heaters have an efficiency rating of around 67% or more. Electric water heaters are more efficient because the electric heat source is directly submerged into the water. On the other hand, a gas water heater relies on a gas burner or flame that is located underneath the water tank.
Despite the higher efficiency rating, electric water heaters are still more expensive to operate because natural gas is cheaper than electricity, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you will save more depending on your usage. In summary: a higher efficiency rating means you will waste less energy during your water heating process.
Water Heater Recovery Rate
A water heater recovery rate is the amount of water—heated to a set temperature—that your water heater can produce in a certain period of time. Typically, electric water heater recovery rates fall between 20 to 22 gallons, and that of gas water heaters are 30 to 40 gallons.
Water Heater Repair and Replacement Services
Our client-focused water heater repair and replacement services ensure your concerns are heard. Our team of highly-skilled plumbers are available 24/7 to help you with a broken water heater. In addition to water heater services, our team of licensed technicians also offers other types of plumbing repair services for broken sump pumps, gas leaks, and clogged drains. Give us a call by phone at (703) 543-9649 or book an appointment today to receive the kind of high-quality assistance you deserve.