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How do I "right size" a new water heater?

I just had my 10-year old State 50 gallon, 40K BTU water heater repaired this morning. There was water on the floor in front of it and I thought the worst based on its age. It turned out to be a coroded Pressure Relief Valve.

Anyway, my 2 story + basement home has 2 full baths, 1 half bath, + a full bath in the basement (stall shower hardly used, toilet and sink used constantly as I work from home with my office in the basement as well). In the Master Bath (2 floor above basement) there is a large tub that we've never really used because the hot water would run out (pumped from the basement located water heater) before it got filled up. I have 2 kids: 1 in 8th, 1 in 10th plus my wife and I. The reason I mention that is that starting next year, for 2 years, the kids will both be showering at the same time in the morning as they'll both be in high school). Probably 15-30 minutes after they finish showering either my wife or I will shower, one after the other, and I will be shaving.

At times in the past the hot water has not lasted long enough. Seeing as my water heater will probably have to be replaced within the next couple of years ("normal" failure, I suppose) do you feel that I should replace it with the same 50 Gallon/40K BTU or go larger? The plumber who was here feels that it is the right size for my home and that a larger i.e. 75 Gallon tank would just waste energy. If my present tank fails under my service contract they will replace it but I have no control over brand, efficiency, etc.


Re: How do I "right size" a new water heater?

I saw on one show where Richard recommended a unit the heated the water as it were being used instead of heating a tank of water, waiting for some to be used then refilling and heating again. Im not sure the name of this unit but you may check out your local home renovation store, or it may on the website. I know it exists. Good luck

Re: How do I "right size" a new water heater?

What Jdriver if referring to is called a tank-less water heater, it heats the water as it is called for and is off the rest of the time. With it you can run hot water continuously and never run out. I doubt though that your service contract would pay the higher price of the tank-less water heater (usually about twice what a standard WH costs) but it certainly wouldn't hurt to ask or work out a deal to pay part of the costs yourself.

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