We’ve all been there – you are standing in the shower, relaxing and having a great time when it happens. The water goes cold.
The size of your hot water tank might not be something you think about all the time, but when that water starts to run cold nothing seems more important.
So, how are you supposed to know exactly how big your hot water tank is supposed to be? The easiest way to find out is to give us a call – we’ll ask you a few questions about your home, how many bathrooms, how many bedrooms, and finally, what your average consumption looks like. However, if you’d like to do a little more research on your own, follow our helpful guide below and as always, do not hesitate to reach out should you have any questions!
Is there a standard or “common” size?
The size of the hot water heater you chose should really be dependant on the volume of hot water you use on average. However, the most common water heater capacity is normally 40 and 50 gallons. Some tanks have higher recovery rates, which can also factor into sizing. Choosing a tank that is too big can bump up your monthly energy bills while choosing a tank that is too small can leave you cold in the shower.
If you are replacing an old unit and you were happy with the way it performed, it is always best to get one that is the same capacity. This will also make the installation process easier because you will not have to make any adjustments to your power supply or pipe fittings.
Here are a few things to consider when purchasing a new hot water tank:
- Some people opt for a smaller water heater, thinking they’re being frugal consumers. However, if you use hot water intensely for short periods of time (like taking showers or baths while doing laundry), a low-capacity water heater might not do the job.
- Opting for a smaller unit will not help you save money on your energy bill. This is because the amount of water that you and your family use on an average basis is not going to change because of the size of your tank (you’re still going to shower once a day, right!). The only way to save money is by reducing your consumption and insulating your hot water pipes.
- If you are not sure what is best for your home or what your average useage might be like in a few years, opting for a larger tank is in your best interest. A tank that is too small will wear out faster due to greater use.
- Purchase a water heater that will accommodate the potential number of people in your household, not just the current number. If you plan to move, your water heater must also suit the new occupants.
Are there basic recommendations for the size of tank versus the number of people who live in my house?
There are standard recommendations for each size of water heater:
- Two or three people – for normal consumption chose 40 gallons and for high consumption 60 gallons
- Four or five people – for normal consumption chose 60 gallons and for high consumption chose 80 gallons.
It’s important to take note of how often you shower, run the dishwasher, do laundry and other activities that require hot water – just because there are standard recommendations doesn’t mean that they will work for every family.
If you are not sure at any point, just give Butler Plumbing a call and one of our skilled installation technicians would be happy to help you make the most informed decision for your specific needs.