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Top Factors That Determine Water Heater Sizing

A water heater
An undersized hot water system is a nightmare; such a system can leave you without hot water when you need it the most. Not only that, but you will also stress your undersized system, and it will break down frequently. Here are some of the factors that determine the right water heater size.

Type of Water Heater

The common types of water heaters include:
  • Tankless water heaters
  • Tank system water heaters
  • Solar water heater
  • Storage and heat pump system
The type of tank you want determines the size to install. For example, tankless water heater systems don't store water, so the size you should consider here is actually the flow rate of the system.

Household Size

The number of people in your household is an important factor because it influences the volume of hot water you need per day. The more people in your home, the more dishes you will wash, the more clothes you will wash, and the more showers you will take.

For example, two people can operate efficiently with a storage tank of 50 gallons. However, four people need at least an 80-gallon storage tank so as not to miss hot water.

Household Growth

Water heaters are expensive, so you shouldn't replace your system a few years after installation. Therefore, you should consider not only your current household size but also your household size in the next few years when buying a new water heater.

Say you are a two-family household, and you install a water heater system with a 50-gallon tank. After four years, you have two kids, and your cousin comes to live with you. In such a case, you will have to replace your initial system, which is a costly endeavor. Instead, you should evaluate your future water needs and install a system that can last you for many years to begin with.

Hot Water Points

You also need to evaluate the number of hot water fixtures in your house. The number of taps, showers, tubs, washing machines, and dishwashers will all determine how much water you need. You don't want to run out of hot water in the shower just because someone has started the dishwasher. Again, consider your future needs to if you plan to renovate your plumbing system.

Type of Fixtures

Apart from the number of hot water fixtures, the type (efficiency and capacity) of the fixtures also matter. Dishwashers and washing machines, for example, come in various sizes. A household with a big water heater plus a big washing machine will require more hot water than small appliances, even though they have the same number of hot water appliances.

Usage Patterns

Lastly, you should also consider how you use hot water in your home. If you know how to conserve hot water, then you can survive on a water heater with a lower capacity than even a bigger household who doesn't conserve water. Here are some of the specific usage patterns to consider:

Peak Time

Peak time is the time when you use hot water the most. For example, if you use multiple hot water fixtures in the first hour of waking up, then that hour is your peak time. For example, you may have a challenge with your solar water heater if your peak time is in the morning.

Peak Volume

The peak volume is the highest volume of water you can use within a given peak time. The higher the number of hot water fixtures and appliances you can use during peak time, the higher your peak volume. At the very least, your hot water system should provide your peak volume efficiently.

Use the above factors as a rough guide when you buy a new water heater; you may also need a professional plumber for accurate and professional calculations. Accurate Plumbing can help you size and install your water heater system professionally. Contact us for all your water heater and plumbing requirements.