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How To Determine What Size Water Heater You Need

Properly caring for and maintaining a hot water heater is the best way to ensure you get the most out of your hot water heater. However, even the best maintained water heaters will eventually fail due to old age. If your hot water repairman says there is nothing that can be done to save your heater, it is time to buy a new one. When you are purchasing a new water heater, one important factor to pay attention to is the size of the appliance. The tank size determines how much hot water your water heater can hold at once. If you purchase one that is too small, you won't have enough hot water. If you purchase one that is too large, you will be paying more to heat the water than you need to be. Here are the factors that come into play when determining what size what heater you need.

The Size of Your Family

One of the biggest factors that comes into play when selecting the right-sized water heater is the size of your family. A family of three typically uses less hot water than a family of eight. As such, you need to pay close attention to how many people you have in your family and whether your family is expected to increase or decrease anytime in the near future. Water heaters have a lifespan of about 10 to 15 years, so if you plan on expanding your family during this time, you may want to purchase a slightly larger tank to accommodate this growth.

How Many Gallons of Hot Water Your Water Fixtures Use at Once

Another key factor to keep in mind as you shop for a hot water heater is how many gallons of water certain water fixtures in your home use at a time. For example, regular bathtubs may only use about 50 gallons of water, whereas large, over-sized spa tubs can use in excess of 100 gallons of water at once. If you select a 60 gallon water heater, you would have enough to fill a regular bathtub, but not your spa one. Figuring out how many gallons items like bathtubs, showers, dishwashers and laundry machines use will help you ensure your hot water tank can heat enough water at once for your appliances.  Unfortunately, this can be challenging to figure out. If you still have the owner's manuals to your appliances, they typically say how many gallons of water they hold or use. If not, the manufacturer can often give you a rough idea of how much water is used by calling or emailing them.

What Time of Day You Use the Most Hot Water

Next, take the time to think about what time of day it is you use your hot water. Do you and your spouse shower back-to-back before you get ready to go to work? Do you throw loads of laundry in the clothes washer and run it at the same time you run your dishwasher? If so, you need to figure out how much hot water each of these water fixtures and appliances uses and add it up to how many of these items are running and using water at about the same time. It can take a hot water heater a couple of hours to fully fill back up and reheat water, depending on the size of the fixture. If you have five people who shower in the morning and a small water heater, you won't have enough hot water and your tank won't have enough time to refill.

Having the right sized water heater helps ensure your water heater is not overworked and you have enough hot water on hand when you need it. It also helps to keep your energy usage down. Learning what factors you need to consider when you purchase a hot water heater will help select the size that is right for you home and family. Contact a water heater service for more tips when selecting a new water heater.