How Long Does a Water Heater Need to Heat Up Water?

How Long Does a Water Heater Need to Heat Up Water?

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One of our most exquisite pleasures at home is taking a hot shower. So naturally, the most frequently asked question is how long a water heater needs to heat up because nobody enjoys waiting for hot water.

A typical tank-style water heater provides hot water in around 30 minutes, while a tankless hot water heater provides hot water instantaneously.

But in practice, a variety of circumstances play a role. This article will examine the various varieties of hot water heaters and how long it takes for each to heat up. If you want additional information, it will even guide you through the variables that affect how long it takes to heat water.

How Much Time Does a Hot Water Heater Need to Heat Up?

1. Gas Tank

Gas Tank Water Heater

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It takes about 30 to 40 minutes to heat a 40-gallon tank of water in a typical gas tank water heater. The initial heating occurs when fresh water from your water supply is pumped into the tank.

2. Electric Tank

Electric Tank Hot Water Heater

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Electric tank water heaters require twice as much time as their gas counterparts. As a result, electric elements are typically more cost-effective. However, they cannot match the great performance of gas-fired systems.

An electric hot water heater needs 60 to 80 minutes to warm a 40-gallon tank from when fresh water is introduced.

This is why homes with higher water needs typically opt for a whole-home gas tank water heater over an electric model. On the other hand, electric hot water heaters are excellent for smaller homes and less water usage.

3. Gas Tankless

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Tankless water heaters heat water "as needed." Therefore the distance from your heating unit to the appliance being used determines how long it will take for the hot water to come out of your faucet.

A typical-sized house shouldn't take more than a few seconds if the system is functioning properly. However, it could take a few extra seconds for the water to go through the pipes and reach items farther away from the heater in a large house.

4. Tankless Electric

Tankless Electric Water Heater

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Tankless electric water heaters work similarly to tankless gas water heaters because they only start warming your water when an appliance asks for it. A tankless electric heating unit often provides warm water within a few seconds, but it may take a little longer than a gas tankless water heater due to the strength of gas heat.

Do you want to purchase an electric tankless water heater? Here you will find the best electric tankless water heater we recommend for a modern home.

5. Solar Heater

Solar Water Heater

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Solar heaters take between 60 and 80 minutes to heat up because they are often connected to an electric water heater. On the other hand, if they don't have a backup energy source, a cloudy day can result in you going without hot water for a while.

Factors Affecting Hot Water Heating Time

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1. First Hour Rating

Every water heater has the first-hour rating. When the heater is full, the first-hour delivery rate (FHD) shows how many gallons of hot water it can provide in an hour. FHD rates are provided in gallons per hour (GPH).

You will receive more hot water faster from a unit with a high FHD rate than you would from one with a low FHD rate. For example, a good FHD rate for a 50-gallon container is between 60 and 80 GPH.

2. Recovery Rate

The recovery rate illustrates the number of gallons a water heater can produce each hour while it is in use. In addition, it provides information on how quickly the water heater may be refilled and heated. A unit with a high recovery rate will deliver hot water quicker because it takes less time to heat it.

Handsome asian guy Taking a shower in the bathroom

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3. Power Source

The time it takes to heat water depends significantly on the power source of the water heater. Gas water heaters require less time to heat water because gas burners are more effective than electrical heating elements.

A 50-gallon electric water heater usually has an FHD rate of 58 to 66 GPH, while a 50-gallon gas water heater typically has an FHD rate of 80 to 90 GPH. Hence a standard gas heater may take about 30 minutes to heat the entire tank of water, while an electric water heater may take twice as long. 

4. Water Heater Type

Tank-style storage water heaters store water and heat, while tankless water heaters have no storage tanks. Instead, they heat the water just as it is about to be dispensed. A tank water heater can heat up in as little as 30 minutes and as much as an hour and a half.

Hot water is typically immediately accessible with a tankless water heater. However, the flow rate decreases if too much hot water is used at once, but the water that eventually emerges will still be hot.

Here are the different types of water heaters for your home.

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5. Tank Size

Tank water heaters typically have a capacity of between 30 and 80 gallons. Smaller tanks heat water more quickly because there are fewer gallons to heat. However, they run out of hot water faster. A larger tank will allow you to draw more hot water, and you may not even be aware that your water heater is replenishing itself while you shower!

When it comes to water heaters, proper sizing is essential. Choosing the right-sized tank for your household's hot water requirements guarantees that you'll have hot water when needed.

6. Original Water Temperature

If the incoming water temperature is low, the water heater has to work harder to get the water to the desired temperature. The inlet water temperature is typically around 40 degrees Fahrenheit in cooler climates and roughly 50 degrees in hotter regions. Therefore, it takes some time for the water heater to heat water from 40 to 50 degrees to 140 degrees.

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7. Age and State of the Water Heater

Water heaters don't last forever, so your unit's age and condition will undoubtedly affect how quickly it recovers. Electric and gas water heaters lose efficiency over time when it comes to heating water.

8. Home Size

The period it takes for hot water to arrive at the appliances or fixtures that need it depends on how far away your water heater is from them.

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9. Pipe Diameter

Larger pipes can transport more hot water than smaller pipes.

10. BTU Rating

A gas water heater's BTU rating determines how quickly it can heat water. This results in a quicker recovery period as well. Here you will find more details on what Btu stands for in Water Heaters.

11. Heating Element Wattage

Electric water heater heating elements with higher wattages heat water more quickly.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

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1. Why is My Hot Water Heater Slow?

a) Distance

Water must pass through pipes from your water heater to the faucet or showerhead. Therefore, the further away your faucet or shower is from the water heater, the longer it takes.

b) Low Volume

Some plumbing fixtures may limit the water flow resulting in delayed hot water delivery. Consult a plumber if you suspect that your faucet or shower is experiencing this problem.

c) Age of the Water Heater

It could be that your old water heater is about to give out. A water heater has an average lifespan of about 10 years; think about replacing yours if it is past that point and isn't working as it should.

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d) Accumulated Sediments

Your water heater's tank fills with silt over time, which prevents heat from being transferred. Hence it takes longer than necessary to heat your water. Thankfully, draining the tank usually takes care of this issue. But, of course, you could DIY it or hire a plumber.

e) Undersized Water Heater

Your water heater may be inadequate for the number of people in your house. It could be time to move up to a bigger tank size or install a second water heater if possible. Consult a plumber to learn more about your alternatives.

Here is the best water heater for your home and business use.

2. How Do I Fasten My Hot Water Delivery Time?

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a) Hot Water Circulation System

Water flows from the heater to the tap more quickly when you purchase a hot water circulation system. Additionally, it returns any leftover hot water to the tank. A thermostat or a timer can turn it on.

B) Tankless Model

A tankless water heater provides hot water more quickly than a tank model. In addition, tankless water heaters have recently gotten cheaper as they have become more widely used. Inquire with your plumber about a few possibilities and the advantages of switching to a tankless model.

C) Bigger Tank

As previously stated, your issue may be as simple as that your family has grown to four or five people, but your tank is only designed for two. Ask the plumber to explain your options if you want to purchase a larger tank. 

3. What is a Hot Water Heater Recovery Time?

Hot water recovery time is the period it takes for tank heaters to refill themselves once you have used up all the water in the tank.

A water heater's recovery time is impacted by the tank's capacity, the fuel used, and the temperature of the water being heated. So, naturally, it takes your unit a little longer to heat cold water.

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About the author

Jacky Chou

Jacky Chou is an electrical engineer turned marketer. He is the founder of Indexsy, Far & Away, Laurel & Wolf, a couple FBA businesses , and about 40 affiliate sites. He is a proud native of Vancouver, BC, who has been featured on Entrepreneur.com, Forbes, Oberlo and GoDaddy.