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Tips for Choosing the Right Size Water Heater for Your Home

Jul 30, 2023 | San Francisco Plumbing

Select the right size water heater for your home

Are you tired of dealing with constant problems and breakdowns with your water heater? It’s time to end the frustration and choose the right size standard water heater for your home. A water heater is an essential appliance that ensures hot water is readily available whenever and wherever you need it.

However, many homeowners need to pay more attention to the importance of selecting the correct water heater for their specific needs, leading to frequent issues and costly repairs.

This article provides practical tips and expert advice on choosing the perfect water heater that will meet your household’s demands and keep those hot showers flowing smoothly.

How to choose the right size standard water heater?

When choosing the right size standard water heater for your home, it’s important to strike the perfect balance. You want a water heater that’s neither too small nor too big but just right for your household’s hot water needs. So, how do you go about finding that perfect fit? Here are some simple guidelines to follow:

Consider the home’s FHR or first-hour rating

Determining the right size of a standard water heater for your home requires calculating the First Hour Rating (FHR). The FHR represents the hot water the heater can deliver during a busy hour, such as the morning rush. While the FHR is provided on the yellow EnergyGuide label of the water heater, you can also calculate it yourself using the following formula.

Let’s use a four-bedroom house as an example:

Step 1: Allocate 12 gallons of hot water per person in the household.

Step 2: Determine the home’s maximum occupancy by adding the number of bedrooms plus 1. In this case, with 4 bedrooms, we add 1 to get 5.

Now, multiply the maximum occupancy (5) by the 12-gallon allotment per person. The result is an FHR of 60 gallons. This means the minimum FHR needed for this home’s water heater is 60 gallons. (1)

Size/storage capacity

The next step is to choose the right size of a standard water heater to ensure a steady hot water supply for all family members. The size of the water heater directly relates to its storage capacity, which determines how much hot water it can hold at any given time.

To determine the appropriate size for your household, consider the number of members using hot water regularly. For example, a family of four generally requires a larger storage capacity than a couple or a single individual.

Let’s say you have a family of four. Consider a water heater with a storage capacity of around 50 gallons in this case. This allows for an ample hot water supply to meet the needs of multiple showers, baths, and household tasks without running out.

On the other hand, if you have a smaller household with just one or two individuals, a water heater with a storage capacity of around 30 gallons might be sufficient.

Does this convince you yet? If you want insights on the above factor, then feel free to contact our expert at O’Grady Plumbers!

Consider the energy factor

In addition to considering a water heater’s size and storage capacity, it’s important to pay attention to the energy factor (EF). The EF indicates the tank’s efficiency, with higher EF ratings indicating greater efficiency. Choose the highest EF rating available for a tank with the desired FHR.

Thanks to the introduction of the FHR by the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act, determining the appropriate water heater size has become much more straightforward.

Contractors no longer have to rely on complicated tables or building codes or adhere to minimum standards set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Instead, homeowners can now easily calculate the ideal size of a water heater that provides enough hot water while maximizing cost-efficiency. (2)

Take our help to choose the right water heater for your home

You don’t have to navigate the process alone when choosing the right water heater for your home. O’Grady Plumbers is here to help you make an informed decision and find the perfect water heater that meets your needs.

With our expertise in plumbing, we can assess your specific requirements and consider factors such as the size of your family and hot water usage patterns and guide you toward the most suitable water heater option.

What are you waiting for? Get in touch now.

People Also Ask

Is it better to have a bigger water heater?

While a larger water heater may provide a higher storage capacity, it only sometimes results in better efficiency. Smaller water heater tanks tend to have higher efficiency ratings. The water heater size should be based on your household’s hot water needs.

If you install a water heater tank that is too big for your usage, you’ll waste energy by heating more water than you will use. On the other hand, if the tank is too small, you may run out of hot water during peak usage times.

Does a bigger water heater use more electricity?

A bigger water heater will use more electricity than a smaller one. The power consumption of a water heater is measured in watts, and larger water heaters typically have higher wattage ratings. This means they require more electricity to heat and maintain a larger volume of water.

The average water heater operates at around 1125 watts, but larger and more powerful models can use up to 4000 watts. The higher wattage is necessary to heat a larger quantity of water and maintain it at the desired temperature.

What is the standard-size water heater?

The standard size of most residential water heaters is typically either 40 gallons or 50 gallons. However, there are other capacities available in the market, such as 66 gallons, 75 gallons, 80 gallons, and 120 gallons.



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