What Size Water Heater Do I Need?

March 06, 2021
What Size Water Heater Do I Need?

What Size Water Heater Do I Need?

Whether you’re planning to install a water heater in your home or replace an existing unit, it’s vital you choose one with the right tank size that will suit your need. If the tank is too small, getting enough hot water could be impossible. You may even have to overwork a small unit, which might ultimately lead to frequent unit repairs or even premature system breakdown. 
On the other hand, a water heater that’s too big could skyrocket your energy usage and bills. Therefore, this blog will help you see how to select the right water heater size. But before getting to that, know your options when it comes to types of water heaters.

Types of Water Heaters

Storage Tank Water Heaters: These traditional water heater models have insulated tanks for storing hot water for heating or domestic use. Some are powered by electricity while others are fueled by gas. One reason many homes prefer these tank systems is low upfront costs. Though the gas models can be pricier than the electric units, storage tank water heaters in general cost less than tankless water heating systems. Also, water heaters with storage tanks have low operating costs than those of tankless models
Tankless Water Heaters: These are more recent water heater designs with high upfront costs, but they are energy efficient. One downside to them is that they can only supply a limited amount of hot water per minute.
Solar Water Heating Systems: These water heaters include storage tanks and solar collectors. They are available in two designs: active solar water heating systems and passive solar water heating systems. The former have circulating pumps and controls while the latter doesn’t. 
Read on to see how to determine the perfect water heater size.

Using Loose Estimates for Storage Tank Water Systems

This approach is based on the number of people occupying a household. As a general guideline, a 30- to 40-gallon water heater should be sufficient for a one or two-person household.  For a house with two to three occupants, the rule of thumb is to buy a water heater that can hold 40-50 gallons of water. With three to four people in the house, a 50-60 gallons size water heater should be enough. And home of 5 or more people shouldn’t be using anything smaller than a 60 gallon water heater.  
Due to varying water using habits of different households, however, a 30-gallon water heater tank can be sufficient for a family of 5, while another household consisting of 2 individuals may experience a hot-water shortage every now and then.

How to Size Tankless and Solar Water Heater Systems

The two most important things to consider when choosing a tankless water heater are flow rate and temperature rise. The former refers to your water requirements during a particular period of time, and it is measured in gallons per minute. The latter means the temperature difference between the incoming cold water and the ideal temperature by which your heater must raise the water.
This is where the expertise of one of the plumbers in your area would prove useful. A qualified plumber will use their training and experience to help you calculate the total flow rate your home needs and use that to determine the right tankless water heater size for you.
You’ll need to hire a service professional to also know the size of a solar water system that will be perfect for your need. 

Final Words

Regardless of the water heater option you intend to buy, using the help of a service professional will help you get the right option. So, don’t hesitate to touch base with your local plumber for assistance.

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