How To: Choose the Right Size Water Heater for Your Home

There is no real catchall answer when it comes to choosing the right size water heater for your home. There are several factors that determine what you need, including the size of your household and your hot water needs.

However, one thing we can definitely tell you is that bigger does not necessarily always mean better when it comes to choosing the right size water heater for your home. If the tank you choose is too small, then youll run out of hot water before you finish your shower. Get one that is too large, though, and youll be wasting money on heating water that you dont even use.

But you can follow a few guidelines that can help you make the right choice. One of the most important ones is figuring out the first hour rating, or FHR, or your home. This is the measure of how much hot water your system will provide during a particularly busy hour, such as when everyone in your home wakes up and wants to take a shower. You can find the FHR of a water heater on its yellow EnergyGuide label. However, if you want to do a double-check, here is a formula you can use. Keep in mind that this is based using a four-bedroom home as an example.

  • Make an allotment of 12 gallons of hot water for everyone in the home.
  • Consider the maximum capacity of your home as the number of bedrooms plus one. In the four-bedroom home example, you will base that maximum capacity on five rooms. Multiply the 12 gallons by five and you get an FHR of 60. This is the minimum figure that should be provided by your water heater.
  • Next, look at the EF, or energy factor, of your water heater. The higher the EF, the more energy-efficiency your tank will provide. In the previous example, you want the highest EF rating available for a tank with an FHR of 60.

This process used to be much more complicated before the National Appliance Energy Conservation Act created FHR. Previously, a contractor had to consult complex tables and building codes, as well as standards set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD. However, these days it is simple to choose the right size water heater for your home so that you can have hot water delivered in as cost-efficient a manner possible.

If you have any other questions in regard to choosing the right size water heater for your home, call Approved Comfort at (815) 219-7102.