Sizing Your Water Heater Properly in Southwest Florida

Best Home Services Helps You Choose the Right Water Heater

BHS is Southwest Florida’s leading home services expert, and our team has the expertise to help you determine what size of water heater you will need in your house. Water heaters are among the most critical components of a safe, comfortable home. But they are often forgotten because they are stowed away in the basement, out of sight and mind. It is difficult to overstate the importance of water heaters. Following a muggy day in Southwest Florida, the comfort of a warm shower is often at the forefront of most residents’ minds. So, do not take water heaters for granted. Rely on BHS to help you select a water heater that meets the requirements of your home and family.

Differentiating Between Styles of Water Heaters

Size requirements for water heaters will vary depending on the style you choose for your home, among other factors. The primary types of water heaters on the market are tankless water heaters and storage tank water heaters.

Storage Tank Water Heaters

Much more common than their tankless counterparts, storage tank water heaters include an insulated tank that holds a reservoir of hot water until you need it for your shower, dishes, or laundry. While storage tank water heaters are suitable for larger households, they are only capable of providing a limited amount of hot water in any given period. Once you exhaust that supply, you will need to wait for it to replenish. Therefore, choosing the right size of storage tank water heater is critical.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless water heaters are more energy-efficient, using built-in coils to heat water on demand. However, your hot water is limited because tankless water heaters can only heat a certain amount of water at once. This style of water heater is more suitable for households that only use water for one task at a time rather than large families with a multitude of hot water needs.

General Rules of Thumb for Storage Tank Water Heater Sizing

BTU (British thermal unit) input and capacity in gallons are the basis for sizing storage tank water heaters. There is a direct correlation between your water use and the capacity you need in your hot water heater. The more you rely on hot water, the more BTUs and capacity you will require. BSH’s rough guidelines for storage tank water heater sizes in Southwest Florida include:

  • If there are two or fewer members of your household, you will need a water heater with at least a 30-gallon capacity.
  • If there are two or three members of your household, your storage tank water heater must have at least a 40-gallon capacity.
  • If there are three or four members of your household, you should invest in an electric water heater with at least a 50-gallon capacity or a gas water heater with at least a 40-gallon capacity.
  • If your household has five or more members, you will need an electric water heater that holds at least 80 gallons or a gas water heater that holds at least 50 gallons.

How to Size Storage Tank Water Heaters Properly

Determining your ideal water heater size requires calculating your household’s peak-hour demand. This figure represents the amount of hot water your household will need during its busiest hour of use. You can be precise by totaling water usage from all activities during a typical busy hour. But BHS suggests basing peak-hour demand on your family’s showering habits. The average person uses about 12 gallons of hot water during a shower. To find your peak-hour demand, multiply those 12 gallons by the number of people in your household. This figure should be lower than your water heater’s first-hour rating (FHR). An FHR measures the amount of hot water your water heater can supply every hour if it begins with a full tank. Contributing factors include your tank’s size, type of fuel, and burner size. Gas water heaters have higher FHR ratings than electric water heaters because they can heat your water quicker. Therefore, if you have three members in your household, your peak-hour demand will be roughly 36 gallons. To satisfy your family’s needs and keep from running out of hot water, you will need a water heater with an FHR of at least 40 gallons.

How to Size Tankless Water Heaters Properly

You must use a different method for sizing tankless water heaters. Because tankless water heaters do not store any water, you must consider flow rates – in gallons per minute – to determine the proper size. BHS can help you with the math. You will first need to add the flow rates of all the devices you plan on using simultaneously. For instance, if you want to take a shower while your family member uses the sink, you must calculate the flow rate of each. If your shower has a flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute and the sink faucet has a flow rate of 1.4 gallons per minute, you will need a tankless water heater with a flow rate of at least 3.9 gallons per minute.

The next figure to consider when sizing your tankless water heater is temperature rise. To get this number, you must subtract the temperature of the water you are using from the set output temperature, which is usually 100-120 degrees. It is safe to assume the incoming water temperature is about 50 degrees but err on the side of caution so that you do not purchase a tankless water heater that fails to meet your family’s needs. In this example, you will need a tankless water heater that can produce a temperature rise of 50-70 degrees at 3.9 gallons per minute. Low-flow models are available for many of your plumbing fixtures to increase efficiency and reduce flow rates. BHS’s plumbing experts can help you choose and install products suitable for your Southwest Florida home.

Best Home Services Offers Water Heater Repair

If anything goes wrong with your water heater, you will know immediately. Such an inconvenience will make showering miserable and reduce the effectiveness of your washing machine and dishwasher. If this happens at your home in Tampa, Naples, Sarasota, Fort Myers, or anywhere else in Southwest Florida, call BHS for local water heater repair. We provide 24-hour plumbing services that extend to your tankless or storage tank water heater. We will quickly remedy your predicament, accounting for any issues with the piping, electrical work, the thermostat, or any other components. Our professionals have experience with gas and electric water heater repair.

Contact Best Home Services for Water Heater Expertise

Water heaters are crucial elements of your home, so be sure to select a water heater that is suitable for the needs of your household. BHS has experts willing to help you understand what size of water heater you need and why. It may seem like there is an overwhelming amount of math involved. But our recommendations, based on years of experience in Southwest Florida, can help ensure you do not exhaust your supply of hot water with regular use. Our proficiencies do not stop with water heaters, though. Rely on BHS for all of your home services, including air conditioning, electrical needs, and drainage issues. Contact us today to learn more.

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