Your tankless water heater may not provide sufficient hot water for your home’s needs. Yes, these appliances can provide you with on-demand hot water, but their supply should also match the demand you put on them. The flow rate is an important number to know when choosing a new tankless water heater. Find out why it matters and how to calculate the correct value for your home.
What Is Flow Rate for a Tankless Water Heater?
The flow rate is the amount of water that your tankless heater can warm to the desired temperature per minute. Average units have flow rates between two and five gallons per minute, depending on the fuel source and temperature change. Gas water heaters can reach five gallons per minute and raise the water temperature by 70 degrees F. Electric models require more time to heat water and typically only produce 2 gallons of hot water per minute.
Why Does Flow Rate Matter?
The flow rate of your water heater needs to match the maximum amount of water that you use per minute. For instance, if you take a shower while running the dishwasher and the washing machine, you may go over the water heater’s flow rate. The water would not be as hot as necessary because you are overworking the water heater. Calculating the flow rate you need can prevent the problem of not having hot enough water.
How to Calculate the Flow Rate You Need for Your Home
The flow rate depends on the type of plumbing fixtures you have in your home. For instance, you may have a showerhead with a 2.5 gallons per minute (GPM) flow rate or a low-flow showerhead with a flow rate of 1.5 GPM. To determine the amount, for each fixture, place a five-gallon bucket under the faucet and turn it on. Use a timer to measure how much water the fixture puts out in one minute. You can also find this information from the manufacturer of your plumbing fixtures.Add up the flow rates of all the fixtures that you use at the same time to determine the flow rate for your tankless water heater. If the amount exceeds five gallons per minute, you may want to consider getting supplementary water heaters to ensure that you always have hot water for all areas of your home. The best part is these extra water heaters won’t take up energy when not in use, so they’re ideal solutions for guest bathrooms or rentals.
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