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What Size Water Heater Do I Need?

| Rootin Tootin Rooter |
What Size Water Heater Do I Need
  • When choosing a water heater, you must consider the size of your household and how much water you use daily.
  • If your water heater is too small, you’ll run out of water fast too big, and you’re paying for water you don’t use.
  • Consider energy efficiency, fuel type, installation space, and future water usage changes to select the most suitable water heater model.
  • Calculate your peak hour water use and consult a professional to get a properly sized water heater.

When you’re in the market for a new water heater, one of the first questions that pops up is, “What size water heater do I need?” It’s an excellent question to ask, especially considering that the average American household uses about 64 gallons of water per day. Picking the right size of water heater ensures every member has enough hot water for their daily shower.

It also means the water heater works efficiently and doesn’t drive up your utility bill. In this article, we’ll tell you how to find the perfect-sized water heater. Whether you live alone or have a family that seems to double when it’s bath time, getting this right can mean the difference between “just enough” and “just right.”

What to Consider When Looking At Water Heater Sizes

When you’re picking the right size for your water heater, the size of your household and how much water you use regularly should be at the top of your list. The number of people living in your house can significantly impact the size of the water heater you’ll need. If you live by yourself or with one other person, your daily water usage will be much less than a family of four or more.

In that case, you can get away with a smaller tank, saving you money not just on the initial purchase but your energy bills as well. Larger households will need a bigger tank to ensure everyone can take a hot shower without the last person getting a cold surprise.

You have to think about your family’s daily water habits as well. Using the dishwasher and doing laundry daily can be demanding for your water heater, so factor them into your decision. A bit of math is involved, but don’t let that scare you.

The average shower uses about 2 gallons of water per minute, and a load of laundry can use up to 30 gallons. So, if you’re all taking long showers and doing laundry on the same day, you’ll need a water heater that can keep up. A good estimate is around 10-15 gallons of hot water per person daily.

Peak Hour Demand

Peak hour is the busiest time in your household when the demand for hot water hits its highest point. Think about those bustling mornings when showers are in full swing, dishes are being washed, and perhaps a load of laundry is going through. You must calculate your peak hour demand to ensure your hot water doesn’t run when you need it most.

You start by identifying the hour your home uses the most hot water during the day. Then, tally up the amount of hot water (in gallons) used during this hour. This includes everything from showers and baths to dishwasher and washing machine use. The Department of Energy has a handy worksheet that can help you calculate your water consumption during peak hours.

Additional Considerations

The gallons of water you use daily is a good starting point, but it doesn’t paint the whole picture. You’ve got to look beyond the capacity and consider a few more angles to ensure you’re picking the right model for your home. Some other things you must consider include:

  • Energy Efficiency Ratings. You might think any model will do, but you must keep in mind that a more efficient water heater will cost you less to run it. These ratings, often found on an Energy Guide label, can help you compare the efficiency of different models.
  • Fuel Type. Your options aren’t just limited to gas or electricity. There are also solar, propane, and even geothermal. Electric models might be more common and easier to install, but gas heaters can be cheaper, depending on your local utility costs. While a solar-powered heater is the most eco-friendly and cost-effective in the long run, it comes with installation challenges and upfront costs.
  • Available Space. Some models, especially tankless ones, might need special accommodations or modifications to your home’s current setup. Installation requirements can vary significantly between models, so make sure you’ve got the space sorted out before you make your final decision.
  • Future Changes in Water Usage. If you’re planning on growing your family or if there’s a chance elderly parents will move in with you, these changes can significantly increase your hot water needs. Anticipating these shifts now can prevent you from ending up with a water heater that’s too small in a few years, forcing you to replace it sooner than you’d like.

Professional Installation and Consultation

A professional installer ensures that your water heater fits perfectly with your home’s plumbing system, avoiding any unnecessary problems in the future. More importantly, they can give you a tailored recommendation that matches your household’s specific water usage needs.

Whether you have a big family that uses lots of hot water in the morning or you’re living solo and looking to save on energy bills, a professional can assess your situation and suggest the ideal size. That means you won’t end up overspending on a giant unit you don’t need or getting stuck with a model that falls short.

Finding the Right Size Water Heater in Tucson, AZ

Getting the answer to “What size water heater do I need?” ensures you have enough hot water for your daily needs without wasting energy or money. A heater too small will leave you shivering in the shower, while one that’s too large can unnecessarily inflate your utility bills. 

If you want to find a water heater that’s just right for you, don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at Rootin Tootin Rooter in Tucson, Arizona. We’re a locally owned and run business with over 40 years of experience. We’re available round the clock, so give us a call any time, and never suffer through a cold shower again.


What Happens If My Water Heater Is Too Small?

If your water heater is too small, you’ll frequently run out of hot water, especially during peak usage times. This can lead to discomfort during showers or when using appliances, forcing you to wait for water to reheat, disrupting your daily routine, and causing inconvenience.

Can a Water Heater Be Too Large?

A water heater that’s too large for your needs can lead to inefficiencies and increased costs. Large tanks waste energy by heating more water than necessary, which drives up utility bills. They also take up more space and can have a shorter lifespan due to cycling on and off more frequently.

How Often Should I Reevaluate My Water Heater Size?

You should reevaluate your water heater size every time there’s a significant change in your household or habits, such as adding family members or increasing water usage. Assessing your water heater’s adequacy every 3-5 years or after big lifestyle changes ensures it meets your current needs.

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