2 Ways to Determine the Right Size of Tank Water Heater for Your Home
We’ve all read the fairytale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. How is this story relevant to plumbing? Well, if you’re looking for a new tank water heater for your home, you may understand Goldilocks’ frustration.
If your tank water heater is small, it won’t produce enough hot water for your household’s needs. But if the unit is too large, you’re spending extra money on equipment and wasted energy. To determine the correct size, you can go off your household’s size or estimate hot water usage by the first-hour rating calculation.
Here are two ways you go figure out the right size of water heater for your home.
Measuring by tank size
The first (and most obvious way) to determine the optimal size of a water heater is by tank capacity. Tank water heaters are available from 30-gallons up to 80-gallons – which is the amount of water that is heated and stored at all times.
How many gallons you will need is determined by the number of people in your household and your hot water usage. Having a large-enough tank will ensure that there’s sufficient hot water ready for your specific needs. If you go with a smaller tank, you’re more likely to run out of hot water, which can lead to a cold shower or appliances not performing at their best.
Here’s a general recommendation for water heater tank capacity based on household size.
- 30 gallons – 1-2 people
- 40 gallons – 2-3 people
- 40-50 gallons – 3-4 people
- 50-80 gallons – 5 or more people
Measuring by first-hour rating
Another way to compare tank water heaters is by the first-hour rating (FHR). This rating indicates how many gallons of hot water the unit can produce in one hour, when starting with a full tank of heated water. Compared to the tank size, FHR tells you how much hot water the unit will produce at peak usage. This is important if your household uses more or less hot water than the average.
A simple way to calculate your household’s ideal FHR is to multiply the number of people in your household by 12. If you want to be even more accurate, you can calculate your total water use based on everyday tasks such as showering, shaving, running the dishwasher, washing clothes, etc. (Tip: you can search online for an FHR calculator). Once you have your FHR, you will have a better idea of the size of the hot water tank to get.
Water heater experts in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio
When you want to make sure your next water heater is “just right,” talk to the pros at Ohio Buckeye Plumbing. As licensed plumbers, we can help you estimate your hot water usage and recommend the optimal tank size for your needs. To get started with a consultation and free estimate, call us today at (440) 283-9377.