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What Size Water Heater Do I Need?


How long does the water heater last? It is dependent on the type you are using in your home. Also, the kind of water in your household will play an important role in extending or shortening its lifespan. An electric-powered water heater is engineered to last between 10 to 15 years, depending on maintenance practices. The gas-powered water heater on the other hand has a lesser lifespan of between 8 to 12 years.

You should consider a new water heater for your household if you are experiencing multiple leaks or making a loud, unusual sound. Luckily, there is a plethora of effective and energy-saving water heaters in the market. To get the right one for your household need, you should compare the different sizes and choose the one that best suits your daily needs.

Sizes of water heaters

As a homeowner, you must get the right size of water heater for your family. You should consider the number of people in your home before splurging your cash on the next water heater. 50 and 60-gallon water heater is suitable for a family of between 3 and 4 people.

If the household is up to 7 people, consider opting for the bigger size from 60 to 70 gallons. If you are staying alone with your spouse, daily needs such as dishwashing, showering, and laundry can be effectively handled by a 30-gallon water heater. While these numbers look accurate and flawless, a key variable like the duration of water usage daily might also play a vital role in influencing your decision.

How much water does your family consume?

Depending on family size, the habit of using hot water differs. For instance, a family of just two people may not be properly served by a 30-gallon water heater. Since their daily activities require plenty of water, they may want to go for a bigger size. On the other hand, a household of 5 to 7 may not need a heater as big as the 80-gallon water heater. Because of their low water usage, they may be comfortable using a smaller size water heater unit.

If your family uses as many as four appliances same time, buying a bigger size water heater seems to be a wise decision. By doing so, hot or warm water will be available for use. To enjoy the maximum value worth of the water heater, paying attention to the family size key is crucial. Your home will have sufficient water to run the shower and cater to other needs.

When the daily water need is higher than the capacity of the water heater, you may be left with nothing but cold water. It isn’t a pleasant experience, especially in winter.

Also, choosing the wrong water heater size will shorten its lifespan and incur repair and higher maintenance costs on you. The water heater will have to work harder to meet the household’s daily needs. It applies to purchasing a water heater bigger than what you need. It will increase the utility bills. There is nothing wrong with seeking the assistance of an expert in helping your household get the best water heater size.

Calculating daily water usage

We have highlighted what suits an average family. However, other variables like usage can impact the water heater size. Fortunately, there is a better way of determining the most suitable water heater size.

To get the best estimates, pay attention to the quantity of water your family use at their heaviest water usage time of the day. In most cases, the busiest time is in the morning. Finding out the number of gallons they use at that time of the day will give you a more accurate water usage in your home.

On average, the quantity of hot or warm water used in the shower is usually around 10 gallons. So, if the number of people that shower in your home in the morning is up to five, it means your family consumes on average up to 50 gallons for the shower alone.

Do not forget that you will need warm water for other uses such as dishes and laundry. To remove food and grease from the dishes, a dishwasher could consume up to six gallons of water. When you add this to the water used for the morning shower, it rises to 56.

There is also a possibility that your family uses 7 gallons of water to do their laundry in the morning. Now that we know that an average of 63 gallons of water is required in a household of 5 people, you should consider going for a 60 – 80-gallon water heater. You can use this calculation for a smaller or larger household so that you do not lack warm or hot water in your home.

First Hour Rating (FHR) is a vital factor to look out for when you go to a water heater store. It means going for a water heater with a higher FHR than the quantity of water your family use at the busiest time of the day. It also indicates the amount of hot water the system can produce in an hour. While you can get the FHR rating on the manufacturer’s website, another likely place to find it is on the top of the water heater’s sticker.

Other factors to consider when choosing the right size

Running a bath

To run a proper bath, a smaller tub takes as much as 40 gallons of water while the big-size bathtub may gulp up to 140 gallons of water. When two or more people in your home decide to take a bath at the heaviest time of the day. It affects the gallon of water used overall. You should make your kids reuse the same bathwater to save water and money on utility bills.

Tank water heater vs. tankless water heater

A conventional tank water heater is designed to store a large quantity of hot water at once. On the other hand, the more modern tankless water heater is engineered to heat the water from the pipeline. If you are going for a tankless system, some of the guidelines to follow include the Temperature Rise and Flow Rate.

The Temperature Rise as a metric explains the water degrees needed to be heated before it gets to the shower. On the other hand, Flow Rate is the sum of warm water consumed by a person every minute.

Reasons why you should go for 50 gallons over a 40-gallon water heater

The extra 10 gallons of warm water counts a lot. The 50-gallon water heater is common in most homes whether it is the right size or not.

It comes with perks not seen on the lesser tank water heaters. Here are some of the benefits of a 50-gallon water heater. To make a smart decision while at the store, here are some of the reasons why you should consider buying a 5—gallon water heater.


Because of their large storage capacity, they tend to last for a long period. They can also hold hot water for a lengthy period. Unlike 40-gallon heaters, 50-gallon heaters possess thicker tanks that do not easily leak and can last up to 12 years.


it saves you money, especially when the number of people in your family is a minimum of 4. You spend less on energy bills.


One of the benefits of having a 50-gallon water heater lies in its availability in the tank and tankless system. Regardless of the style you go for, both will serve you well. Note that while tankless 50-gallon water is more durable with a longer lifespan, the tank water heater is cheaper and easier to maintain.

Is a tankless water heater the solution to energy saving?

A traditional tank water heater continuously produces hot water. It could lead to high energy bills and the wastage of water. The more advanced tankless heater helps to save energy since they heat only when you need it. Unlike tank-style water heater units, the tankless system doesn’t take up much space during installation.

The longevity of the tankless water heater is impressive. It can last as many as 20 years if properly maintained. The slight issue with tankless is that it is costlier. It is also more delicate, which is why you need a professional plumber to handle the installation for you. The cost of acquiring and installing a tankless water heater might be higher than its counterpart, but its long-term benefits outweigh the price.


As a homeowner, choosing the right size water heater that conserves energy, provides enough hot water, and saves money, is the best decision you can make. Take your time to find the most suitable tank to make warm water available for your home use.

John, Larry, Mike, owners of Western Rooter & Plumbing

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If you’re having plumbing issues or emergencies, contact Western Rooter & Plumbing online or call our dispatch center at (626) 448-6455. We are the Los Angeles County and San Gabriel Valley’s number one plumbers – don’t wait, call now!



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