Are you looking to get a new hot water heater but stuck wondering, “what system do I need”?
Most people underestimate their hot water consumption, which can be inconvenient, especially in cold weather.
Others may overestimate their consumption which usually results in substantial energy costs. That’s why choosing the right sized system for your home is essential. And contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t only depend on the number of people in your family.
The hot water system sizes tend to vary between 25 litres and 400 litres, so we thought of creating this guide to help you choose the right hot water unit. This guide will be useful for anyone looking to install a brand new hot water system or replace an old one.
So, let’s jump in and find out what size hot water system works for you and how much hot water your family needs!
Why It’s Important To Get The Right Sized Hot Water System?
While choosing the size of a hot water system may seem pretty simple, the calculation is not as straightforward as it seems. For instance, the hot water usage of a medium-sized household may drastically change depending on the type of system or how many shower heads are present.
That’s why it’s essential to accurately estimate how much your family uses hot water daily to choose the right hot water heater. The amount will be starkly different for areas with cold climates, increasing the demand for hot water.
The most important reason to choose the right-sized hot water system is to have a constant hot water supply. Underestimating your family’s overall hot water consumption will be inconvenient as you’ll always seem to run out of hot water. This problem is even more evident in continuous flow systems since you will fail to get adequate hot water when the continuous flow heater is too small.
If the hot water system is too large, you’ll pay a higher energy bill than your actual hot water consumption. This is because a hot water system uses more energy to keep the water heated for longer in the hot water tank, even if you have no use for it.
Factors To Consider While Choosing The Size Of A Hot Water System
1. Number Of Family Members
As we already said, one of the key ways to choose the size of a hot water system is based on the number of members in your family. A single person generally uses around 50-11 litres daily, which can be a minimum threshold while selecting the system. In that aspect, a family of three to four people will need about 150-200 litres of water daily.
Apart from the family members, it would be best if you considered frequent visitors. You can opt for a larger hot water system based on the excess consumption.
For a large family of five to eight members, opting for a 400-litre hot water system is suggested in case of peak usage. The smallest recommended size is 250 litres if you live in a warm climate or use hot water from limited outlets.
2. Water Usage Habits Of The Members
The actual consumption might differ from a family’s basic estimated hot water requirements. That’s why studying your family’s hot water usage patterns is recommended before purchasing a new system.
You should take a minimum period of two weeks to analyse each family member’s hot water usage habit. While some may spend more time taking hot showers, others may use more hot water in the kitchen. Try to run this experiment for a few weeks while factoring in work and school.
You should also note when the most water is used in a household. If your family takes hot showers in the morning, opt for a natural gas-powered system with a large capacity. This would ensure there’s enough hot water for everyone.
Likewise, some families prefer to use solar hot water systems instead of gas systems to keep energy costs low, especially if they use only a limited amount of hot water.
3. Number Of Outlets To Be Connected
Another key point to note while choosing the size of a hot water heater is the number of hot water outlets you will need. While we mostly think about hot water in showers, households also use ample water in the kitchen or bathroom.
Besides, if one heater is connected to several water outlets, the storage system must have enough capacity to maintain an even flow rate. But a small family of two with limited demand for hot water may choose an instantaneous system to avoid incurring high energy costs.
Contact a professional plumbing service provider if unsure which hot water system size or type would be best for your household. The experts will calculate the size of the water heater and help with installation. They may even help you determine if your washing machine uses hot or cold water for its cycles.
4. Type Of Fittings
It may come as a surprise, but the type of fittings in your home affects the total hot water consumption. For instance, if your bathrooms have large shower heads with high water pressure, they’ll use more hot water, and the storage tank will deplete sooner.
Alternatively, homes that have bathrooms fitted with low-flow or water-saving shower heads may benefit from using a continuous flow system with lower capacity. Try to analyse how many showers your family take in a day and how long to figure out the suitable capacity for the hot water system.
5. Type Of Hot Water System
As you may know by now, different hot water systems are available on the market. To determine the ideal hot water system size, you need to know the different types of systems that supply hot water. The most common include:
- Gas hot water systems
- Electric hot water systems
- Heat pump hot water units
- Storage hot water system
- Solar water heater
The gas hot water systems have always been a prevalent choice for larger households due to their higher reliability. Additionally, you can get away with a lower capacity gas hot water system as the pumps can heat water faster than those in electric systems.
That’s why choosing a higher capacity is recommended when opting for electric storage hot water systems to make up for the heating threshold, especially during times of high demand.
For a family with five to eight members, you should ideally choose a gas system with 170-340 litres capacity. When opting for an electric system, it’s best to pick one with a hot water tank size of 250-400 litres for optimal performance. Note that a solar hot water system isn’t suitable for large families, but some models are available for up to 300 litres.
The best hot water systems for small or medium-sized families can be a bit different if they are instantaneous. Rather than relying on storage tanks, these come with heat pumps designed to heat water and eliminate wait time constantly by providing a continuous flow.
Understanding Water Heating Systems
We hope this guide will help you find the right sized gas storage hot water system, solar, or electric hot water system for your home. Your family size, daily hot water requirements, and a number of hot water outlets all play a role in determining which system works best for your needs.
And if you are opting for a heat pump or electric storage system, it is always advised to speak to professional hot water service to determine the size of the hot water heater you need.
Remember that sometimes you may find it too challenging to choose the best hot water system, especially if there are too many family members. But, there’s no need to worry, as contacting a local professional plumbing company will surely be beneficial.
In such circumstances, the plumbers will visit your home to determine the approximate amount of water needed daily to suggest a suitable storage tank system or instant hot water system. They may even help you swap out an old hot water system for more efficient hot water taps and heating systems.
Until next time, goodbye, and take care!