How to Determine What Size Water Heater You Need

modern automatic water heater

Having sufficient hot water to meet your water heating needs is important. If your water heater is too small, you can run out of hot water when you need it. If it is too big, while you will have plenty of hot water, your energy bills can be higher.

Water Heater Types

Besides size, you also need to understand the different types of water heaters and how they function. In general, there are three types of water heaters you can choose from, including:

  • Tank-Type Water Heaters – This type of water heater stores hot water in a tank until it is needed. As you use hot water, the tank is refilled with cold water. The heater then turns on and heats the water to the desired temperature. The heater will also run periodically to maintain the desired water temperature.
  • Tankless Water Heaters – Tankless heaters create hot water on-demand. When you turn on the hot water, the heater turns on. The primary benefit of tankless heaters is they are energy-efficient since they only run when you need hot water.
  • Solar-Powered Water Heaters – This type of heater uses solar energy to heat hot water. Solar water heaters are tank-type heaters. While they can help reduce energy usage, the only drawback is the tank does not have a battery backup so the heater may not maintain the desired temperature system or heat hot water on cloudy days.

Determining Water Heater Size

To determine what size of water heater you need, you first need to determine your hot water usage. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How many people live in your home? The number of people in your home will determine the number of gallons of hot water each one uses daily. On average, each person uses 15 gallons of hot water a day. So, in a 4-person home, you would want a water heater that could produce at least 45-60 gallons of hot water.
  • At what times during the day is hot water used? This is another important question because it lets you know when hot water is being used. If everyone showers in the morning, you want to make sure everyone can enjoy a hot shower. Otherwise, the person who showers last could get an unpleasant cold shower. You also need to account for other hot water usage like running the dishwasher, washing dishes, or doing laundry.
  • Do you run out of hot water constantly? If you run out of hot water constantly, your water heater is too small and was not sized correctly for the home.
  • How many bedrooms are in your home? The number of bedrooms is important should you ever decide to sell your home. You want to make sure the water heating needs of potential buyers are met and that the water heater isn’t too small.

Putting It All Together to Choose the Best Water Heater

smiling technician servicing an hot water heater By answering the previous questions, you can determine which size of water heater is best for your home. You also need to consider the energy-saving advantages you could gain with tankless and solar-powered heaters or a combination of a tank-type and tankless configuration.

For example, if you have an existing tank-type heater but are constantly running out of hot water, you could supplement your existing configuration by having a tankless heater installed to meet your water heating needs.

For assistance in deciding what type of water heater is best and choosing the right size and configuration for your home, please feel free to contact KCs 23 ½ Hour Plumbing at 760-327-8718 today! We also offer other 24-hour plumbing services, including repairs, replacements, and more!