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We get this question a lot. Just as there are different size TVs, different size refrigerators, different size washing machines, and clothes dryers, hot water heaters come in different sizes too. After all, it wouldn’t make sense to have the same size water heater in a one-bedroom apartment as a five-bedroom home, now would it?

The right answer comes down to the size of the home, the number of people in the household, and how often those people actually use the water. Why? Because, someone can say that their twins are home from college during the summer, but the rest of the year, they’re not using the water. So, usage is a factor but we like to err on the side of caution.

How Big is Your Household?

We will definitely be interested in the size of your home, but we’ll be more interested in the number of people living in it. You may have a four-bedroom home, but the water demands will be much higher if you have eight children instead of three or four.

Here are some guidelines to follow:
  • If your household has 1 to 2 people, you need 30-40 gallons.
  • If your household has 2 or 3 people, you need 40-50 gallons.
  • If you have 3 or 4 people in your household, you need 50-60 gallons.
  • If you have 5 or more people in your household, you want 60-80 gallons.

The numbers above are “loose” estimates, but they’ll at least give you an idea of what your family’s hot water needs are. However, this post is about finding the right size tank water heater for your home. If you need advice on sizing for a tankless water heater, please contact us directly for information.

Warning: The bigger the water heater, the more it costs, but you may not want to go smaller. You could be tempted to select a smaller hot water heater based on your household size, but it may be insufficient to accommodate your hot water needs. Usually, it’s safer to go bigger, especially if your family tends to use a lot of hot water around the same time of day; for example, in the evenings after school and work.

If a hot water heater is too small, it can’t keep up to the household’s demands for hot water. This can lead to cold showers, frequent repairs, and a shortened lifespan. Don’t let that happen to you – contact our Cedar Park plumbers instead for the advice!