How to Choose the Right Water Heater Size
Running out of hot water is a major inconvenience, whether it happens during your morning shower or when you’re getting ready to do a load of laundry. When several people in the household need hot water at roughly the same time, the problem is compounded. If you need a new hot water tank, it’s important that you select a unit with a big enough tank to accommodate everybody’s needs. Here are some guidelines to help you choose the right water heater size for your home.
First hour rating (FHR). This is how many gallons of hot water the tank can supply each hour starting when the tank is full. To get a handle on that number, determine what time of day has the highest demand for hot water.
For example: In the morning, three people take showers and water is also needed for making breakfast, coffee, etc., then rinsing/washing dishes afterward.
The U.S. Department of Energy has provided estimates for the duration of use as follows:
Shower = 20 gallons
Rinsing/washing dishes; food prep = 2 gallons/minute
Shaving/handwashing/face washing = 0.5 gallons/minute
Running the dishwasher = 7 gallons per use
Three showers = 60 gallons, 1 shave = 2 gallons, meals/rinsing dishes = 10 minutes, running the dishwasher = 7 gallons
TOTAL peak hour use = 79 gallons; round this up to 80 gallons
So, when researching water heaters, look for one with a minimum FHR of 80 gallons. The EnergyGuide label will include the FHR, listed as “capacity.” This water heater size should easily meet the needs of your family during peak use times. If you are in the market for a new water heater, contact Atlas Butler at 614-681-2183. One of our licensed plumbers will be happy to meet with you to discuss your hot water needs and make the best recommendations based on utilization by your household.