How to Choose the Right Water Heater Size: How Much Hot Water Do You Really Need?

Some people have the misconception that all tankless water heaters are better than their counterparts. It is true that they are much more energy efficient, but that doesn’t mean other types of water heaters don’t provide just as many benefits. Considering you might be a family of three or four, if you live in an area with hot summers and cold winters, or want to reduce your carbon footprint, then consider one of these readily available alternatives to tankless.

Types of Water Heaters

Tank-type water heaters can be made of various materials, i.e., copper, aluminum, stainless steel and cast iron. They have a tank that holds the hot water and is usually insulated so you won’t have to worry about your pipes freezing during the winter months.

Tankless water heaters have no tank and are made of stainless steel. They are much more efficient because they don’t require heating to produce heated water. Tankless heaters come in low-flow models, but they also come with the ability to adjust output based on your needs and hot water usage.

Solar Water Heater Systems are another alternative. In order to heat the water, a solar panel is placed on the roof of your home. The water being heated in the solar panel is stored in a tank that is located on the roof. When hot water is needed, it flows through a pipe that connects from the tank to your home. A backup system (usually electric or gas) will kick in once your storage tank runs out of heated water.

How to Choose the Right Water Heater Size

Water heater size refers specifically to how many gallons of hot water per day it can provide for your household’s needs. This is the number you will need to consider most of all when deciding on a water heater.

All of the experts agree that 1-gallon per person per day is a good guideline. This means that if it’s your only source of hot water, then you should be able to use the hot water provided for at least 16-18 hours (2.5 – 3 gallons) daily. If you are sharing a heater with friends, then it might be better to go with a smaller sized one. Even if your friends are not that much bigger than you, just having more gallons of hot water available more than makes up for the inconvenience of sharing the water heater. Smaller models are still quite affordable and will provide enough hot water without being wasteful.

Consider its physical size and the amount of space you want it to occupy. If you’re installing one in your home, then try to estimate how much space you need so you’re not disappointed with the final result. Most models require the installation of an electric or gas line. Some models have a gas line indoors, which means even if your water heater is located outdoors, such as on a patio deck, it will still be able to provide hot water. If it does not have a gas line, then you will need to purchase the gas line separately.

The peak hour demand will determine the sizing of your water heater. You can find your peak hour demand on your energy bill. If you are planning to have more than one water heater, then consider the needs of each person in accordance with their habits and hot water usage. If you’re choosing between tankless models and tank-type models, then it is best to go with a tank-type model if you plan on having one main hot water source for more than 3 people.

Why choose a tankless?

Tankless water heaters have several advantages over their traditional counterparts, despite higher initial upfront costs. With a tank system, there is a storage tank where water is heated. This means that even if your hot water heater breaks down, you still have the ability to heat water. The only way that you would lose hot water in the winter is if all of your pipes froze up or the pump broke down.

Alternatively, with tankless heaters, you never again will have to clean out that nasty old storage tank. If you’re tired of spending money on chemicals to clean out your tank each time it starts developing sediment, then a tankless heater is the better choice.

A tankless water heater might cost more initially than a standard water heater, but just think of all the extra money you’ll save in the long run. You’ll never again have to purchase or replace an a/c or pump for your water heater because they are included! Tankless heaters even have warranties that cover failure due to pump or electrical failure.