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Choosing the Perfect Electric Hot Water System A Comprehensive Guide

hot water system

Selecting the ideal electric hot water system for your home is more than just an investment—it’s a commitment to your comfort and efficiency. This guide breaks down everything you need to know to make an informed decision, ensuring you choose a system that meets your needs without wasting energy and money.

Assessing Your Household’s Hot Water Needs

Understanding Consumption: Before you can select the appropriate size, you need to understand your household’s daily hot water consumption. Various activities contribute to this:

  • Showers and Baths: A significant portion of hot water use.
  • Dishwashing: Both by hand and using a dishwasher.
  • Laundry: Hot water for washing clothes.
  • Cooking and Drinking: Minor but consistent usage.

Calculating Daily Usage: Estimating your total daily usage will help determine the capacity you need. Average usage per person includes:

  • Shower: 10-15 gallons
  • Dishwasher: 6 gallons
  • Clothes Washer: 7 gallons per load
  • Bath: 20 gallons
  • Hand Washing: 2 gallons

Determining the Right Size

Capacity Recommendations: Based on the number of people in your household and peak usage times, here’s a general guideline to help you decide:

  • 1-2 people: 30-40 gallons
  • 3-4 people: 40-50 gallons
  • 5-6 people: 50-60 gallons
  • More than 6 people: 80+ gallons

Peak Hour Demand Calculation: It’s crucial to consider the peak hour demand, which is the hour during the day when your household uses the most hot water. Calculate it by:

  • Morning Rush: Number of showers multiplied by gallons per shower.
  • Laundry Sessions: Number of washes multiplied by gallons per wash.
  • Dishwashing: Gallons per cycle.

Energy Efficiency and System Sizing

Choosing Efficient Models: An oversized system can lead to energy wastage, while an undersized one can lead to a lack of hot water. Key considerations include:

  • Energy Factor (EF): Higher EF means greater efficiency.
  • First Hour Rating (FHR): The amount of hot water the system can produce during a busy hour.

Long-Term Savings: Opting for an energy-efficient model might cost more upfront but will save money in the long run due to lower operating costs.

Installation Considerations

Space Requirements:

  • Vertical Space: Ensure there’s enough overhead space for a tall hot water system.
  • Floor Space: Account for the base area the system will occupy.


  • Maintenance Space: Room to perform regular maintenance.
  • Nearness to Points of Use: Closer installations reduce heat loss in piping.

Future Proofing Your Hot Water System

Anticipating Changes: Household size and usage patterns can change, affecting your hot water needs. Consider:

  • Expandability: Possibility to add more capacity.
  • Modular Systems: Systems that can be adjusted or expanded as needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: How do I know if my hot water system is too big? A: Signs include high energy bills and water that is too hot. If the system cycles on and off too frequently, it might be too large for your needs.

Q2: Can I install an electric hot water system myself? A: It is recommended to have a professional install your system to ensure safety and compliance with local codes.

Q3: How often should I replace my hot water system? A: Typically, electric hot water systems last 10-15 years. Regular maintenance can extend this lifespan.

Q4: What maintenance does an electric hot water system require? A: Annual inspections, testing the pressure relief valve, checking for leaks, and flushing the tank to remove sediment buildup.

Making the Final Decision

Choosing the right electric hot water system involves considering your current and future needs, understanding energy efficiency, and ensuring you have the right installation conditions. By carefully evaluating these factors, you can select a system that not only meets your daily hot water demands but also operates efficiently, saving you money and reducing your environmental footprint over time. Remember, consulting with a professional can provide personalized advice tailored to your specific circumstances and needs.