Your Water Heaters

Which Water Heater Is Right For My Family Size?

Big B's Plumbing - Your Plumber for Life!

Everyone has experienced a cold shower at some time in their lives. If you have a household with teenagers, running out of hot water is not uncommon. In some cases, your shower has to be a scheduled event; otherwise, you’ll get left in the cold. Are you a homeowner with a 70 or 80-gallon jacuzzi tub with a 40-gallon water heater? For some builders, this happens often. If you have a beautiful jacuzzi tub and it never gets used because your water heater doesn’t hold enough hot water to fill it, then think twice when installing a new water heater. 

Some things you need to consider when making a water heater purchase:

  • Do you plan on adding to your family? Remember, a new family is one more shower to be had in just a few short years. 
  • Do you plan on caring for a family member like a mom and dad as they age?
  • Do you entertain cross-county family or friends very often?  

Consider this, the difference in cost between a 40 and 50-gallon water heater is very minor. The average shower is ten minutes. If your shower is fitted with a low-flow showerhead, it will use 2 gallons per minute (GPM). So if two people take a 10-minute shower in the morning, they will use 40 gallons of water. Remember, that’s the perfect scenario. 

Bradford White Water Heaters

Water Heaters Come In Different Sizes

Water heaters come in many sizes: 30, 40, 50, 75, and 80 gallons. Here are some considerations when deciding on a water heater: How many full bathrooms are in your home? Do you take baths or showers? If you take baths, how many gallons of water does your bathtub hold? How often do you run the dishwasher and washing machine, and what time of the day? These are all things to think about when you’re ready to make a water heater purchase. Unfortunately, what usually happens is our water heater finally breaks down unexpectedly after ten years of use, and we don’t take time to evaluate our household water usage. In some cases, we make a purchase that we end up regretting. 

How Long Is My Water Heater Expected to last

Calculate Your Peak Hot Water Usage

Calculate your peak hot water usage time. For example, according to, a shower should not take more than 10 gallons of water, shaving takes 2, and hand dishwashing takes 4. However, non-government sources say that 10 gallons of water for a shower is wishful thinking for most individuals. They say the average shower is 10 minutes and uses 2 GPM. That said, the average shower would use 20 gallons. Add them up during your peak hours, and you’ll have a basic idea of how much hot water your family requires. Another consideration is how many gallons of water your jacuzzi bathtub holds.

For example,

Three showers @ 10 gallons each x 3 persons = 30 gallons (Government Sorce)

Three showers @ 20-gallons each x 3 persons = 60 gallons (Independent source)

One shave @ 2-gallons each x 1 person = 2 gallons

One hand dishwashing @ 4 gallons x 1 = 4 gallons

Total = 36 gallons of water during peak time. (Government Sorce)

Total = 66 gallons of water during peak time. (Independent Sorce)

(Consider using the 10-minute shower model as well.)

It’s Simple, So Make It A Fun Project

Now, this example is very basic, and every household is different. Some may take shorter showers while others would use a dishwasher. The average dishwasher uses 6 gallons of water, while an Energy Star labelled dishwasher uses 4 gallons. Before purchasing your next water heater, make it a fun project to calculate your peak water usage and purchase the water heater that’s the right size for your family.

Do Your Homework Before You Make A Water Heater Purchase 

When you’re deciding on the size of your water heater, there are other considerations. Like so many other appliances, water heaters have been manufactured with the latest technologies. For example, You can purchase a smart heater that connects right to an app on your phone. Other water heaters include maintenance-free features. Homeowners who don’t know water heaters require maintenance once or twice a year, depending on your water quality. A special enamel tank liner called Vitraglas® offers unmatched defense against the hot water’s extremely corrosive effects. Vitraglas® protects the tank’s steel and other components from corrosive and hazardous substances. So you have many choices when finding the right heater. Without regret, do your homework before you purchase. 

Brandon and Family, Licensed plumbing contractor

Family Owned & Operated

My name is Brandon Mageno. I'm the founder, President, and CEO of Big B's Plumbing Company. As the founder, I never thought about being average or good. My passion for being the best plumbing company in Southern California has always been the same. Providing plumbing services to this great county is simply in my DNA. Nothing makes me happier than to see a satisfied customer. Learn More About Us

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