WM Henderson Truck


Sizing Guide: What Size Water Heater Do I Need for My Home?

Sizing Guide: What Size Water Heater Do I Need for My Home?

The average lifespan of a water heater is dependent on the type of system you have. However, the type of water in your local area will also have an impact on your water heater system. A standard gas water heater is engineered with a lifespan that ranges from 8 – 12 years.

Our expert technicians are here for youSchedule Online Today

An electric water heater is designed with a life cycle that varies from 10 – 15 years. If your system is leaking or producing loud noises, it may be time to replace your water heater with a new energy-efficient system. Prior to purchasing a new system, it’s important to become familiar with the various water heater sizes available.

Water Heater Sizes

What size water heater do you need to accommodate your family? The answer to this question will vary depending on the total number of family members and kids you have. For example, an average family of 3 to 4 people should purchase a 50 – 60 gallon water heater.

On the other hand, a household with 5 – 7 people may require a water heater with a 60 – 80 gallon water tank depending on water usage patterns. If you live alone with a spouse, a 30 gallon water heater will provide you with enough warm water to shower, do laundry, and wash dishes.

These sizes are rough estimates for your home. The proper water heater size will be reliant on variables such as the number of people in your family and the average duration of your shower.

If you need a rough estimate of what size water heater you need, follow these standard guidelines:

  • 1 to 2 People: 30 – 40 Gallons
  • 2 to 3 People – 40 – 50 Gallons
  • 3 to 4 People: 50 – 60 Gallons
  • Over 5 People: 60 – 80 Gallons

Hot Water Usage Habits

The process of sizing a water heater will be different across family to family. For example, a family of 5 – 7 people may not require a 60 – 80 gallon water heater. In some cases, a family of this size may be able to get by with a 50 – 60 gallon water heater. In addition, a family with 2 members may require a water heater with a water tank that is larger than 30 gallons. The size of your water heater will vary depending on your water usage habits. 

If you commonly utilize 2 to 4 water appliances at the same time, you should purchase a larger water heater size to ensure you have enough warm water to shower while the appliances are running. The process of sizing a water heater for your house is extremely important. If you purchase a water heater that is too small, you may be forced to shower with cold water.

In addition, a water heater that is too small for your family is forced to work harder. This will lead to costly repairs and tune-ups. Alternatively, a water heater that is too big for your household will cause the total cost of your utility bills to increase. To receive help determining what size water heater you need, call a local professional in your area to receive assistance finding the proper model for your house.

How to Drain a Water Heater

Water Heater Sizing: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

1. How Do I Determine What Size Water Heater I Need?

An average family of 3 to 4 people should purchase a 50 – 60 gallon water heater. On the other hand, a household with 5 – 7 people may require a water heater with a 60 – 80 gallon water tank

2. Is a 40 Gallon Water Heater Enough?

A 40 gallon hot water heater can accommodate around 2 to 3 people in a home. This is a rough estimate that will vary based on the number of appliances in your house and the average duration of your shower.

3. Do I Need a 50 or 75 Gallon Water Heater?

A 50 gallon water heater is sufficient for a household of 3 to 4 people. If you have over 5 people in your home, you may require a 75 gallon hot water heater.

4. How Many People Can Shower With a 50 Gallon Water Heater?

A standard shower for a single person is around 20 gallons of water. So, a 50-gallon water heater is suitable for a family of three to four people.

5. How Long Should 30 Gallons of Hot Water Last in a Shower?

A 30 gallon water heater can provide up to 20 minutes of hot water for activities such as showering, bathing, or washing dishes by hand.

Read More: What Size Condensing Furnace Do I Need?

What Size Water Heater Do I Need?How to Determine How Much Water You Use

While the estimates above can be used to give you a rough estimate of the water heater size you will need, there is a more accurate method of sizing a heater.

First, you will need to analyze your water usage habits to determine your heaviest water usage hour. If your family showers from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM each morning, this is your heaviest water usage hour. You will need to determine how many gallons of water you use during this time of the day.

The average amount of warm water utilized to shower is 10 gallons. If a total of 5 people in your household shower in the morning, you should multiply 10 gallons by the total number of water usage sessions, which is 5. In this case, a family of 5 would use 50 gallons of water each morning from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM.

However, you will likely use more than 50 gallons of water to wash your dishes from breakfast. A standard dishwasher utilizes a total of 6 gallons of water to remove grease and food from your dishes. Once you wash your dishes, your total water usage will be equal to 56 gallons, assuming that each member in your household took a shower.

If you also decide to do laundry, you will utilize 7 additional gallons of hot water in the morning. After your family has finished showering, washing dishes, and doing laundry, you have consumed a total of 63 gallons of water. To ensure you don’t run out of warm water each morning, you will be required to purchase a water heater that features a tank size of 60 – 80 gallons.

While you are looking at different water heater sizes at the store, you will need to find a system with a First Hour Rating (FHR) that is higher than the total amount of water you consume throughout your heaviest water usage hour.

An FHR Rating indicates the total number of gallons of warm water a water heater is able to produce in one hour. This rating can be found on a manufacturers website. To find the FHR Rating of your current water heater, you will need to locate the EnergyGuide sticker. The FHR Rating will be located on the top of this sticker on your water heater.

Read More: Why It’s Important to Replace Your Lead Pipes

Other Factors to Consider While Sizing Water Heaters

If one or more people in your house choose to take a bath in the morning instead of showering, you may require a larger water heater size. A standard small bathtub is able to hold an average of 40 gallons of water.

On the other hand, a large bathtub may be able to accommodate up to 140 gallons of water. To save money on your water bills, we recommend having your kids reuse the same bathwater. 

If you decide to purchase a tankless water heater instead of a traditional water tank, you will be required to follow a different set of guidelines to size your water heater.

While a traditional water heater is engineered to produce a large quantity of warm water at once, a tankless water heater is designed to heat incoming water from your pipes. To determine what size tankless water heater you need, you should calculate the Flow Rate and Temperature Rise.

Flow Rate is a metric that refers to the total quantity of warm water an individual will utilize per minute. The total amount of water is measured in gallons. On the other hand, Temperature Rise is a metric that illustrates the total amount of degrees your water will need to be heated before it reaches your shower fixture.

Water Heater Leak

Water Heater Repair and Replacement Services

If you need assistance sizing a water heater for your house, give our team a call by phone at (484) 206-8594. The licensed plumbers and technicians at WM Henderson provide dependable water heater repair, replacement, and installation services to homes in Pennsylvania.

We also provide other types of services such as water line installation, air conditioning tune-up, furnace repair, and drain cleaning. WM Henderson provides plumbing and HVAC services in areas such as Philadelphia, Ardmore, Havertown, Wayne, and Drexel Hill. We have been providing dependable plumbing, heating, and air conditioning services to residents in Pennsylvania since 1977.