There’s a lot to consider before purchasing a new water heater. Maybe you’re thinking about upgrading to a tankless model. Or perhaps you’re wondering if an energy efficient water heater is best (the answer is usually “yes!”), or if there’s a certain manufacturer you should go with.
As you mull everything over, don’t forget to consider the size of the water heater. If you don’t, there could be some cold showers in your future.
There are two very important reasons to make sure your water heater is properly sized. First, it will ensure it meets the needs of your household. And second, it can help save energy as it takes more to operate a water heater that’s the wrong size.
Here’s how to choose the right size water heater for your home.
For storage water heaters:
If you’re buying a water heater with a tank (most homes in Cincinnati have this type), check the water heater’s first hour rating. This is the number of gallons of hot water the heater can generate in an hour. On water heaters with the EnergyGuide label, you’ll find this on the top left corner of the label.
You’ll want to choose a water heater with a rating that is in line with your household’s highest hourly demand. In general, a 40 gallon water heater is ideal for a household with two people. Here are some guidelines to help:
- For 1-2 people, choose a 23-36 gallon water heater
- For 2-4 people, choose a 36-46 gallon water heater
- For 3-5 people, choose a 46-56 gallon water heater
- For a household with 5 or more people, choose a water heater with 56 gallons or more storage
For tankless water heaters
To accurately size the best tankless water heater for your home, you’ll need to do a little math. First, look at the water heater’s flow per minute rate. Next, compile a list of all the water fixtures you might use in your household at the same time.
So, if the water heater you’re considering has a flow rate of 3.2gpm, which is 3.2 gallons of water per minute, add up how many gallons of water you’d likely use during a shower and how much water you’d use running the faucet at the same time, for example. If that number adds up to 5.75, you’d need a water heater with a 5.75 gpm.
For a solar water heating system
Contractors usually consider a couple of things when sizing a solar heating system. First, they factor in the collector area, with a guideline of about 20 square feet for a household of two. Another 8 square feet is added for every additional household member.
They also consider the storage volume of the tank. A 40–50 gallon take is usually enough for up to three people. If your household has more than four people, you’ll likely need an 80 gallon tank.
Ready for a water heater? The team at Allied Reddi-Rooter is here to help. We’ll make sure yours is the right size, installed safely and ready to go the distance.