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Gas Water Heater: What Is the Right Size Tank?

Is it time to replace your hot water tank, or is it just becoming apparent that you need an upgrade, and you’re wondering what size to get? The size of your hot water tank will make a huge difference in everything from your morning routine to your utility bill. Here is everything you need to know to help you choose the right size gas water heater for your home.

Mom giving baby bath. Baby holding a rubber duck.

What Factors Impact Tank Requirements?

There are a few factors to consider when deciding what size gas water heater your home needs. The number of people in your home has the most obvious impact on your hot water usage, of course, especially when people are on the same general schedule. The more people showering around the same time, the faster you’ll plow through that hot water tank! How much hot water you go through in a day might be a little different, though, depending on individual habits such as how long showers take, how often you run the dishwasher or hot water loads of laundry, and so on.

What to Look For: Tank Size

The first and most obvious feature to consider, of course, is the size of the tank. How many gallons your tank holds will determine how long of a shower you can take, whether multiple people can shower in the mornings and whether you can do multiple tasks that use hot water, such as run the dishwasher, washing machine, and still have enough hot water for a shower. Too big a tank can backfire, though, as you’ll be spending a lot of energy to heat far more water than you need.

According to Energy.gov, the average shower takes about 10 gallons of hot water, while the dishwasher and clothes washer takes 6 and 7, respectively. Your gas water heater should be large enough to support all of the demands of “peak” times, such as when everyone is showering at the same time in the morning. Another way to look at it: You’ll want about 30 gallons for one person, and another 10 gallons for each additional person. So if you have a four-person household, you should be looking at 60-gallon tanks or larger, which would allow for multiple people to shower simultaneously and still have enough hot water to run the dishwasher or washing machine.

Other Features to Consider

Tank size isn’t the only feature you should be looking at in a gas water heater. You should also pay attention to the first-hour rating (FHR), which will tell you how much hot water the unit can put out in the first hour of its usage. This will tell you whether the unit can provide enough water for everyone in your household to shower at once in the morning, for instance. You’ll also want to look at how quickly the water heater can reheat the water once most or all of its contents have been used up. This is determined by looking at the BTU, which is a measurement of the amount of energy the heater uses. More powerful heaters will be able to recover more quickly.

Making the Right Decision for Your Household

A water heater can be with you for ten years, so it’s important not only to look at your current hot water needs, but where you’ll be in four, six, or eight years, especially for those with growing families. Choosing the right water heater is a big decision, but not to worry, Maeser’s is here to help you make the right choice! Call us today and we’ll schedule one of our experienced technicians to help you choose a gas water heater that will meet your needs for years to come.

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