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What Size Hot Water Tank Do You Really Need?

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What Size Hot Water Tank Do You Really Need?

March 2, 2021

If you’ve decided a storage hot water system is the right choice for your home you’ll need to work out what tank size you need. While tanks generally come with a guide based on the amount of people in your household this isn’t always the best way to work it out. Working out what your hot water needs truly are can help you save money on the initial cost of the unit as well as help you avoid buying a system that doesn’t meet your needs. Even if you’re choosing a hybrid system or a solar hot water system with a booster, knowing how many litres of hot water you will be using throughout the day has advantages beyond not having to rely on a booster kicking in.


The tank size guides that you will see on most hot water systems offer a bracket based on the number of people in your household. The number is calculated by looking at the typical or average hot water use per person and while the bracket does allow for some flexibility, it isn’t quite nuanced enough to be very helpful. Everyone’s hot water use is different whether it comes to how long their showers are, whether they have a bath, the setting they wash their clothes on, whether they wash dishes by hand or use a dishwasher. On top of that, the water rating of your faucets and appliances can make a substantial difference to your hot water use.


When calculating what tank size you need, you should be looking at not only just hot water consumption but also your household’s consumption patterns. If you have staggered use, for example some people showering at night and some in the morning with the dishwasher only on overnight and the washing machine only in the middle of the day, you may only need a small tank despite having a high total consumption because the tank will have enough time to heat back up in between the scattered use throughout the day and night. Your tank size shouldn’t be based on how many litres of hot water you use per day but how many litres you use at the most at any given point.


While it may seem like a lot of work, calculating your hot water usage isn’t always that hard to do. Often the information will be written right on the front of your products. If not, a great online resource for finding out how much hot water your dishwasher, washing machine, showers and taps use is the government page for the Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards (WELS) scheme. These labels appear on product packaging for things like taps, shower heads and as stickers on the front of appliances. As well as providing easy to understand water efficiency information on product packaging, they also have a huge searchable database you can find here. For appliances this will tell you how much water is used per normal cycle and for taps and shower heads you can see how many litres are used per minute, to estimate your hot water use by the length of your showers or baths.


Once you have a clearer understanding of how many litres of hot water you are using and when, you will be able to choose the right size storage tank. As you can see, you may find that even if you use a lot of hot water per day, you may only need a small tank if that usage is split over several different times of the day. Also, if you find you are using a lot more hot water than you would like to be, this information can show you what simple changes you can make to reduce that, such as switching from a standard shower head to a water saving one. This information can even help you anticipate future hot water needs when your household changes or grows.


Putting a little bit of thought into your hot water use and storage tank requirements will ensure that you buy the hot water system that is right for your home. It will help you save money, anticipate any future hot water needs and make it easier for you to make changes to help reduce or stagger your hot water use. While the household size guides can be a good starting point they don’t take into consideration the diversity of personal habits and extreme difference between some products and others. Often all the information you need is either listed on your appliances or easy to find online so with a little bit of investigating you’ll have everything you need to make an informed decision when the time comes to choose a hot water system.


Pascoe’s has plumbers available throughout Perth who can help you with all your hot water needs. To speak to someone today simply call us on 1300 072 726 or book online for a free quote.

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