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If you’ve ever been third in line for the shower, then you probably weren’t expecting to have hot water for very long. This scenario often prompts homeowners to ask how long it will take for their water heater to recover and be ready with a full supply of hot water. Unfortunately, this isn’t an easy question to answer because many factors influence how quickly your water heater bounces back after hard use. Some of these factors include:
Capacity. How many gallons of water your water heater tank holds will have a direct effect on how long it takes to heat that amount of water. The bigger your water heater tank, the longer it will take.
Gas vs. electric. Gas water heaters can heat water up to two times faster than electric water heaters because the gas burners operate at a higher temperature than their electric heating coil counterparts.
Groundwater temperature. When the season changes outside, so does the temperature of your groundwater. As groundwater gets colder it causes your water heater to have to work longer and harder to raise the temperature. This factor is referred to as temperature rise, and it can be calculated by subtracting your groundwater temperature from your water heater’s set temperature (typically 120◦F). For example, if the groundwater temperature in Pennsylvania is 48◦F, the set temperature of 120◦F minus the groundwater temperature of 48◦F produces a 72◦F temperature rise. Consequently, colder groundwater temperatures in the winter months mean it will take longer for your water heater to heat the water.
First hour rating. When you purchased your water heater, you may recall a performance indicator called a first hour rating (FHR). This rating indicates the number of gallons of hot water your water heater can supply within one hour when starting with a full tank. In the simplest terms, the higher the FHR, the more quickly your water heater will recover. An internet search of the make and model of your water heater should quickly help you find its FHR, so you can get a better sense of its expected recovery time.
All these factors aside, if your water heater is taking an hour or more to recover from a heavy cycle of use, you should consider having it inspected by a professional plumber. The age of your water heater and other factors that can be addressed through professional maintenance may explain why your water heater is taking longer than normal, and an experienced plumber can quickly diagnose the situation.
If you have concerns about your water heater and need advice, request an appointment with a trusted IT Landes plumber. To learn more about our water heater options, visit itlandes.com/water-heater-installation.