Regardless of the type of water heater you get or how you expect to power it, getting the right size for your home can be a real challenge. In some situations, you might need water to go full pressure to all your bathrooms and kitchens, especially if you live with 5 or more other friends or family members. On the other hand, if you live on your own, you might need significantly less power.
In each case, it’s important to evaluate the size of the water heater you choose and the amount of hot water it can provide at any given time, to avoid paying too much for it, and to still ensure you get enough hot water on a daily basis.
Evaluating Tank Water Heater Sizes
As the name suggests, a tank water heater is a type of water heater fitted with a container where the water is stored as it’s heated. Because of this fact, the heater’s size is usually closely tied to the amount of water the tank can hold which determines how much hot water you can provide for your home at a certain time – before the tank empties and has to be refilled and reheated.
For tank water heaters, experts recommend going in increments of 10-20 gallons depending on how many people living your house. As such, if you live alone or just with one other person, a smaller (and cheaper) tank water heater will be enough. The size of the tank should support about 30 gallons of water.
On the other hand, if you live with 2-3 other people you might have to consider a heater with a capacity of 40-60 gallons. Larger tank water heaters that can support up to 80 gallons should be reserved for situations where 5 or more homeowners live together in the same house.
The Size of a Tankless Water Heater
For tankless water heaters it gets a little more complicated. Because tankless systems don’t have a tank, they are rated based on the volume of water they can provide at any given time. As such, you’ll have to evaluate how much water you and your household are likely to use at any given time and transform that number into gallons per minute (gpm).
For instance, if you wash clothes during the day, you’ll want to have a water heater supporting a volume of 4 gpm or more, since it may have to also allow for other activities at the same time, such as taking a shower or washing dishes. Keep in mind of course that some fixtures will require a higher volume of water, while others a lower one. A typical bathroom faucet that you’d use for the sink might only need 0.5 gpm, while a low flow kitchen faucet might require up to 5-6 gpm.
Depending on your habits and what you specifically need, it can get difficult to calculate exactly what type and size water heater you should buy and use. If you’re unsure of what to consider, call on your local Westminster plumbing services and ask for help in taking all the variables into account and making a more informed decision.