It’s normal to wait for your hot water heater to heat up. You may be wondering, exactly how long does it take a water heater to heat up? Well, it really depends on which water heater you own and a few other factors. If you feel like it is taking forever for your water to heat up during your morning shower or any other activity involving hot water, then you should look into the reasons as to why different water heaters take a certain amount of time in order to heat up.
The top contributors to how quickly your hot water heater heats up is dependent on the tank size and pre-heated water temperature conditions. Other factors include:
- The heater’s power source
- The number of heating elements within the heater
- Whether your hot water heater is gas or electric
- The size of your tank (larger tanks take longer to heat up due to larger volumes)
The simplest factor to understand is that the more water you have to heat up, the longer it takes for the water to heat up. To determine how quickly you will receive hot water out of your tap, you will need to understand how much water you are heating and how you are heating that water.
Choosing the best water heater for all of your hot water needs is very important. Hot water is something people use on a daily basis, usually multiple times a day. Therefore, you should understand how long it takes for a water heater to heat up and which hot water tank model will be the best for your home.
Hot Water Is Taking Too Long To Heat Up
If your hot water is taking too long to heat up, then your water heater recovery rate may be slow. You can figure this out by using the basic formula below:
Hot Water Tank Size + Heat Input Rate = Available Hot Water
Many plumbers will use this formula in order to figure out if your water heater recovery rate is too slow. In homes, your water heater recovery rates may differ depending on the size of your home or the amount of holding tasks (hot water being used at the same time in multiple parts of the house). Think about if multiple people in your home are using hot water at the same time. This means that the number of holding tasks for the water heater tank is greater, resulting in slower recovery rates.
It is also important to note the performance of your water heater during peak usage hours. Like stated before, these are times when hot water is being used in your home the most and at the same time. This is usually during the day when most people are home and using hot water for different tasks.
You can use a peak usage measurement that represents the maximum output the heater will ever need to produce. If your water heater is able to produce hot water at it’s peak usage hours, then your hot water heater should be able to handle all of your other hot water needs below peak usage.
Knowing How Many Gallons Of Hot Water You Will Need
The number of gallons your water heater can hold is an important consideration to keep in mind when purchasing a water heater for your home. Here are some examples of how many gallons would be needed each day:
- A shower/bath – 20 gallons
- Running the dishwasher – 10 gallons
- Washing clothes – 20 gallons
So for example, if a family of four all took showers in one day, the dishwasher was used, and a load of clothes were washed, then that would be a total of 90 gallons.
If you plan to use this much hot water on a daily basis, then the solution would be to use a 50 gallon tank or higher. If you are wondering why you would only need 50 gallons when you plan on using 90 gallons, then you should know about the maximum draw capacity.
The maximum draw capacity of any hot water heater unit is about 70 percent. Draw capacity means how much of the total available hot water you can pull out of the heater at a given time. Of course, everyone won’t be all taking showers at the same time, unless you have four separate showers in your home.
With a 50-gallon heater, 35 gallons of hot water will be available at any given time. The reason for the 70 percent is that you need a combination of stored hot water within the tank, plus the water flowing into the tank and getting heated before being drawn out. All of these conditions will be needed in order to meet a 90-gallon demand for the example of the family of 4.
This estimate shows that taking a shower while washing the dishes and washing your clothes at the same time means running out of hot water pretty quickly. Next time you plan to run the dishwasher while taking a shower, be aware that you MAY run out of hot water due to the gallon size of your hot water tank.
The solution to running out of hot water too quickly is purchasing a larger capacity tank or a tankless water heater. Contact us today on how you can purchase a larger capacity tank or a tankless water heater!
Taking Recovery Efficiency Into Consideration
Another thing to know about when thinking about how long it takes for a hot water to heat up is something called recovery efficiency. This basically means recovery time and how fast a water heater can continue producing hot water at a given time.
While gas heaters heat water quicker, their recovery efficiency rate is normally lower thank other types of water heaters. For gas water heaters, the recovery efficiency is 75 percent, but for electric heaters it is 100 percent.
What is a Good Water Heater Recovery Rate?
For a typical 40 to 50 gallon gas water heater, anything above 40 gallons/hour would be considered a good recovery rate. The higher BTU burner, the better it generally is for recovery.
The higher the recovery rate and the higher the BTU burner for a water heater is, then the faster your water will heat up. These are all things to keep in mind when purchasing a hot water heater.
Troubleshooting Your Water Heater & It’s Ability To Produce Hot Water
If you feel as though your water heater meets all of the factors in order to produce hot water effectively and efficiently, then you may need to troubleshoot your hot water heater. This is a fairly easy procedure for an electric unit, but if you have a gas heater, you’ll need some experience. This is also why we recommend contacting a professional and having someone help determine if there is something wrong with your water heater.
To troubleshoot an electric water heater, follow the steps below:
- Turn off the power: Turn the breaker to the “Off” position before you handle any electrical components.
- Access the thermostat: Remove the access panel and pull out the insulation to expose the upper thermostat.
- Check the power: Check the wires for signs of voltage. They should all get a reading of zero.
- Adjust the temperature: Try decreasing the temperature a few degrees.
- Finish up: Replace the insulation and access panel. Once ready, turn on the breaker to restore your water heater.
If the recovery time is still too slow, it might be that you need to replace heating parts. Or, perhaps your water heater simply isn’t large enough for your hot water needs. Feel free to contact us today and we will assess your water heater and if it meets your needs.
The Factors Of How Quickly Hot Water Heats Up
The three main factors for how long it takes the water heater to heat up:
- The amount of water that needs to be heated
- How the water gets heated
- The amount of water be used at the given moment
It is important to think about how many family members are using hot water within your home. With a large family and many hot water consuming activities going on at the same time, then you should get a bigger tank.
Depending on which type of water heater you have, gas water heaters heat water at roughly two times the rate of electric water heaters.
If you own a tankless hot water heater, then you never have to worry about running out of hot water again. Contact us today to learn more about choosing the right water heater for all of your hot water needs.