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What Size Of Water Heater Does A Family Of Five Need?

The water heater is an important investment for your home. The tank you have installed should be large enough so that no one in the family has to start their day with a cold shower. However, if it’s too large, you’ll pay for the energy needed to heat all that water you’re not using. To determine what size is best for your family, start with the number of people living in your home.


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What Size Of Tank Does My Family Need?

Most water heater tanks are 40 to 60 gallons in size; this is between 180 and 270 litres, though in Canada we mostly measure tank size in gallons. Depending on your needs, the size can go as low as 20 gallons and as high as 100 gallons. Four factors determine which size is appropriate for your home: the energy source, size of the space for the tank, home size, and the number of people in the home. 

  • Energy Source: Electricity, natural gas, and propane are the three most common energy sources for a water heater. It can also be hooked up to a boiler if your home has one.
  • Space: Water heaters are often tucked away in the basement or laundry room, and these can be cramped quarters. Make sure the unit has half an inch of clearance on all sides, with 12” in front and 18” off the floor.
  • The Size Of The Home: The size of the water heater can be determined by the number of bathrooms and bedrooms in the home. A four-bedroom home with 2.5 bathrooms would need a tank that is at least 50 gallons. 
  • The Number Of People Living In The Home: The tank should provide enough hot water for the entire household.

While all important, the last two factors have the biggest impact on how big the tank will be. More rooms or people in the home will require more gallons to keep up with consumption. A household with five people is best served by a 60-gallon tank (if hot water consumption is average) or an 80-gallon tank (if hot water consumption is high). Remember that the tank will last around 12 years and hot water demands could change in that time. Consider your family’s long-term needs when making a replacement. 


Could My Family Go Tankless?

water heater tank - premier heating and coolingTankless water heaters are great for making sure that hot water never runs out at an awkward time. This type of heater uses internal coils to make sure that the water is hot as you use it, rather than storing the water in a tank for future use. The upfront costs are often higher than a hot water tank, but the efficiency of the tankless system could make up this money

Unfortunately, a tankless system isn’t a great option for most families of five. It might not be able to meet demand because there’s only so much hot water it can deliver at one time. If you have several people using the water at once, a tankless heater won’t work as effectively as you might want.

If you require a new water heater or are looking to upgrade your existing one, Premier Heating and Cooling can recommend the perfect model for your home and family. Remember, a household with five people should require a tank between 60 and 80 gallons in size, and you should make your choice with the next decade in mind!


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