This fall, kids go back to school. The morning routines will include more people taking showers and using hot water within a short amount of time. Is your water heater ready to ensure that everyone has a hot shower before school or work? If you are not sure about your water heater’s performance, you may need to consult with a plumber for repairs or a replacement of the unit.
Is Your Water Heater Large Enough for Your Family?Water heaters have several measurements listed in their descriptions. One of these measurements refers to the total capacity of the water heater tank. Larger tanks require more energy to heat all the water. However, they provide a greater amount of water before needing to recharge. If you have a four-person family, you will need a 40-gallon gas water heater or a 50-gallon electric water heater. Larger families typically require 80-gallon heaters or larger. The total size of the tank is not the only metric to determine if the tank will fulfill your family’s needs during the peak demand. Another piece of information is the first-hour rating. This amount indicates how much hot water the tank can supply within an hour. It should always be greater than the peak hour demand of your family.
How to Calculate the Amount of Water Your Family Uses During Peak Demand TimesThe peak hour demand is an amount that you must calculate yourself based on what your family does during the period of greatest use on your water heater. Use the following estimations from a home inspector to estimate the water use of your family during the busiest hour of the day:
- 10 gallons per shower
- 14 gallons per dishwasher load
- 10 to 30 gallons per clothes washer load
- 4 gallons per person for hand washing, face washing, or hair shampooing
- 2 gallons per person shaving