What Size Water Heater is Right for You?

Plumber Servicing Water Heater

If you’re looking to buy a new water heater, one of the main questions you may ask yourself is, what size water heater is right for me? Size does matter, but when it comes to buying a new water heater, bigger is not always the better option. If you invest in a water heater that is too big, you will waste money on water that will go unused. On the other hand, if you purchase one that is too small, you will run out of water.In order to make an educated purchase, here are some tips to determine what size water heater is right for you.

Determine how much water you need

The first thing you will need to find out is your homes FHR, or first hour rating. This measures how much hot water your heater delivers during a busy hour, like during your morning rituals. The FHR will appear on your existing water heaters yellow Energy Guide label. If you want to calculate it yourself, use the following strategy:

  1. Assume each person in your household will use 12 gallons of hot water per day.
  1. Your homes maximum occupancy is the number of bedrooms plus 1. So, if you have four bedrooms, add one to get a total of five. Multiply this amount times the 12-gallon allotment for each person in your house. Your FHR would be 60. This is the minimum FHR that your water heater should carry.

No matter the size of the water heater you choose, we recommend considering a water heater with a high-energy factor (EF) rating which also provides the FHR you need. Bottom line: the higher the EF, the more efficient the tank.

Small Space Water Heaters

If you live in a small space that wont accommodate a standard-size water heater, there are alternatives. These alternatives offer the same level of performance and work with either electric or gas systems.


One small space water heater option is called a lowboy, or short water heater. As the name implies, short water heaters are shorter and wider than standard water heaters. As a result, they can hold the same amount of water but fit into crawl spaces or under cabinets. Lowboys come in a variety of sizes, from 30 to 49 inches, and hold up to 50 gallons of water.

Tall Water Heaters

Tall water heaters range between 50 and 76 inches high and can hold up to 100 gallons of water. Additionally, they take up less floor space, making them ideal for basements or garages where height isnt an issue but you want more floor space.

Call Benjamin Franklin Plumbing

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing is the go-to plumbing company in Minneapolis and St. Paul forwater heater installation and repair. We are happy to answer any questions you might have about choosing a water heater. Call us today at 952-933-8888 or schedule an appointment online at any time that fits your schedule.

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