Hot Water Happiness: What Size Water Heater Do I Need?

Plumber estimate what size hot water heater do i need for my home

Did you know that water heating is often the third largest energy expense in your Florida home, after heating and cooling? Hot water heaters can account for up to 17% of your utility bill.

Water heaters take up enough energy. You don’t want to add more energy to your costs by choosing the wrong-sized water heater.

What size hot water heater do I need? If you are asking yourself this question, this guide is for you. Keep reading to learn how to decide on the best option for your space.

What Size Hot Water Heater Do I Need?

There are a lot of factors to consider when answering the question, “What size hot water heater do I need?” When looking for a hot water heater, learn about these elements:

  • Fuel
  • Costs
  • Water usage
  • Efficiency

What is right for someone else’s home might not be best for yours, so it’s imperative to do your research.


Figure out which sources of fuel are available in your area. The different options are:

  • Natural gas
  • Propane
  • Electric
  • Solar
  • Geothermal

Not every area will have access to all energy types. If you are thinking about changing fuel sources, ask your utility company if they offer rebates or incentives for certain fuel types.

If you purchase Energy Star or CEE-qualified appliances, you might be able to receive a cash rebate.

The fuel type you use will affect the annual operating cost, size of the water heater, and energy efficiency.


Determine your budget before thinking about the hot water heater size you need. There are different types of equipment that may fit your budget better than others.

When you have a number set, estimate the purchase and operating costs of each type of water heater. Costs will include:

  • Fuel type
  • Tank size
  • Installation costs
  • Maintenance fees

If you expect to make accommodations down the line, incorporate this into your potential costs as well.

Water Usage

Examining your daily water usage can determine the size of tank you need.

If your hot water heater is too small, you’ll run out of hot water while using it. If your water heater is too large, you’ll spend more on features you don’t need.

You can calculate water use with a water meter. To figure out your water use in a 24-hour day, read your meter at the same time for two consecutive days.

You can also determine your daily average by measuring water use for several days.


Because there are different water heater options, there are different energy efficiencies.

Once you calculate your water usage, look at a water heater’s first-hour rating. This metric refers to the number of gallons of hot water a heater can supply in an hour.

If you want the most efficient water heater for your home, you might have to pay more upfront costs before saving over time.

What Type of Water Heater Do I Need?

Selecting the right type of water heater can save you money by saving on water and energy. There are three major types of water heaters to know about.


Tankless water heaters heat water instantly without needing a storage tank. These heaters can provide a home with 7 to 12 gallons of hot water per minute.

Tankless water heaters are smaller than storage tanks. They are chosen based on their flow rate and not their tank capacity.

The downside to tankless water heaters is that they are more expensive upfront than storage tanks. However, they can last longer and lower energy and operational costs. This is the better long-term investment.

Gas and electric tankless water heaters run more efficiently than conventional water heaters, no matter the fuel type. You can find storage (tanked) water heaters that run on gas and electricity, too.

Although both options are great for energy efficiency, one outdoes the other. A gas tankless water heater is more energy efficient.

Because they are tankless, they can’t always heat enough water to run multiple appliances at once. To combat this issue, you can install separate tankless water heaters for different appliances, but this will increase purchase costs.


Another common water heater option is the storage model. A gas-tanked water heater can keep between 20 and 80 gallons of hot water ready for use at any given moment.

This is a low-cost option that can run on any of these fuel types:

  • Electricity
  • Propane
  • Natural gas
  • Fuel oil

Storage tanks can experience heat loss, reducing the energy efficiency of the heater. Insulating the storage tank can prevent some of this heat loss and increase tank efficiency.

Since tank water heaters are less complicated to install and maintain, water heater repair costs are more affordable.


Hybrid water heaters, otherwise known as heat pump water heaters, don’t generate heat directly. They pull heat from the surrounding air using electricity. They will then transfer that heat at a higher temperature to a storage tank.

Hybrid water heater technology makes these models more efficient than tankless and storage hot water heaters. The downside is that they can’t be used in really cold or really hot areas.

Heat pump water heaters are best for homes in areas where the temperatures are 40-90 degrees Fahrenheit all year long. The hottest days in Florida can range from 105-109 degrees Fahrenheit.

Florida homeowners are better suited for tankless, storage, or solar heaters. Solar heating is another efficient way to have continuous hot water in your home.

Get a New Hot Water Heater Today

Going without hot water, especially during colder months, is not ideal for anyone. When it’s time to replace your water heater, ask yourself, “What size hot water heater do I need?”

The answer will depend on fuel, costs, water usage, and efficiency. When you have a good grasp on these elements, choose between a tankless or storage model.

No matter your choice, Home Team Plumbing, Inc. can help. With over 10 years of experience in Florida, we can install, service, and maintain your water heater.

Ready for hot water again? Get a free quote on water heater installation today.

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