How Long Should A 40- And 50-Gallon Water Heater Last?


(Article is based on research and critical assumption; it shouldn’t be taken with absolute certainty as factors for each heater may differ.)

A fully-heated 50-gallon water heater delivers roughly 41-44 gallons of water. But, since an average shower uses 2 gallons per minute, you’ll get around 21 minutes of shower time more or less.

A fully heated 40-gallon water heater would supply roughly 33-35 gallons of water. Hence, since an average shower uses 2 gallons per minute, you’ll get around 17 minutes of shower time.

With regards to life span, both 40 and 50-gallon gas water heaters are presumed to last up to 10 years or more if maintained properly. Electric water heating should last for 12 years and above.

How Long Should A 50-Gallon Shower Last?

=> Looking for a custom house floor plan? Click here to fill out our form, a member of our team will be in touch.

If there’s one thing that’s been proven to relieve stress, it’s taking a long hot shower! It’s so relaxing, especially having one after a tough day at work.

Your water heater can run out of hot water quickly and that can spoil the moment for you. Nobody likes the shock of cold water. So, how long can you use a 50-gallon water heater?

If the temperature of the 50-gallon heater is set around 120-14°F, then you will be able to shower for around 21 minutes before you run out of hot water. Aside from this, there are a few other factors, such as shower head and water flow, that determine how long you can shower with a 50-gallon water heater.

How Many Showers Can I Get From A 50-Gallon Water Heater?

On average, it takes around 8 minutes to shower while the average shower uses 17.2 gallons (65.1 litres) of water. This means you can get three full showers with a 50-gallon water heater and two full showers with a 40-gallon water heater.

See also  No Room For P-Trap? 7 Fixes (Do This!)

How Long Will The Hot Water From The Heater Last? (3 Factors)

Well, this depends on a few factors like water capacity, type of shower head, and water temperature.

1. Water Heater Capacity

How long you can shower and how much water you can get depends largely on the capacity of your water heater (that’s whether it’s 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 gallons, or bigger).

It’s hard sometimes figuring out the real capacity of a water heater as this amount might not be listed on the heater. To find the capacity of a 50-gallon water heater or any water heater, you’ll need to use the first hour rating.

This rating tells you how much hot water a water heater can produce during the first hour of use. You can find the first hour rating on the energy efficiency sticker that comes with the heater.

2. Type of Shower Head

Another factor that will determine how long your hot water will last is the type of shower head you’re using. But, first, you must determine the flow rate from your shower head. Doing this tells you how fast your shower uses water.

To get this done, you’ll need a one-gallon bucket and a timer. Place the bucket under the faucet or shower head then turn on the shower and start the timer to calculate how long it will take for the faucet to fill up the bucket.

The slower the bucket fills, the longer your hot water will last when you shower. Generally, the normal flow rate for a shower is 2.1 gallons per minute.

3. Type of Shower System

Different showers use different amounts of water. Some use less while others use more. In short, the type of shower you own affects how much you use. Below are some examples.

Power Showers

Power showers use a huge amount of water. They are the least water-efficient showers out there. On average, depending on the model you own, a power shower uses around 3.2 gallons of water per minute, making them less ideal for anyone who’s concerned about managing their water.

See also  Best Pipes for Domestic Underground Plumbing

Mixed Showers

Mixed showers are controlled by water pressure. Like its name, the amount of water it uses changes because it depends on the strength of the water pressure in your home. As a result, the lower the water pressure, the lesser the amount of water you’ll likely use and longer your shower time.

That said, mixed showers can use as low as 0.87 gallons per minute and even up to 8.5 gallons per minute, making it difficult to calculate their average use.

Electric Showers

Out of the three, electric showers are the most water-efficient. They use a small amount of water, and depending on the model you have, on average, they use between 1 to 2 gallons per minute.

In short, the electric shower is the best option for you if you want a lasting shower using a 50-gallon water heater.

Which Water Heater Should I Buy: 40 Or 50 Gallons? (4 Things To Consider)

Choosing between a 40 or 50-gallon water heater can be challenging especially if you don’t understand the different benchmarks you need to consider before buying one from the nearest store.

Before buying a water heater, there are four basic things you need to consider: tank size, type of energy, the warranty, and its overall frequency.

1. Tank Size

Water heaters come in different sizes. That means if you have a large family you will need to consider buying a bigger tank. The rule here is that if you’ve 1 to 4 people living in your house, you should get a 40-gallon water heater. A 50-gallon heater is suitable for 5 to 6 people, and a 50-gallon high recovery or 75-gallon heater will serve 6 to 8.

There’s a downside to using a bigger water heater though. While a 40 or 50-gallon water heater consumes almost the same amount of energy, a high recovery or 75-gallon heater will consume more. Another important thing to note is that if you’re going to replace your water heater with a new tank, make sure it’s compatible with your existing system.

2. Type of Energy

Water heaters use different forms of energy. The most common ones used in homes are either gas or electricity powered. Before switching to a new water heater be sure to confirm what kind of energy the existing one uses. Is it gas power or electricity powered? Doing this will save you the extra cost of gas piping, venting or electrical work. If your tank is gas-powered, confirm whether they use natural gas or propane.

See also  Easy Ways of Getting Drinking Water to Your Off-Grid Cabin

3. Warranty

Before replacing or purchasing a new water heater, find out if it’s backed by a warranty. A warranty is a type of guarantee manufacturers make about the conditions of their products. Usually, in a warranty, manufacturers promise to repair or replace a product within a specific period of time if there’s ever a fault in it.

Most warranty periods are usually 3 years. Although the warranty for a water heater is more, running between 6 to 12 years for the tank. Sometimes this is also the case for other parts of the heaters or less. So, before buying a new water heater, find out if its backed by a warranty.

Some contractors also offer installation warranties. Be sure to find out if whoever you’re hiring to install your new water heater has one too.

4. Efficiency

There are two things you must know about efficiency:

  • The less efficient a water heater is, the more money you’ll spend on powering it.
  • The more efficient a water heater is, the less money you’ll spend on powering it.

So, if you’re a person living on a budget or concerned about climate change, it’s best you go for a heater that’s energy efficient. You’ll spend less on maintenance and paying light bills.

The Energy Factor (EF) rating of a water heater tells you if a water heater is highly energy efficient or not. The rule of thumb here is: the higher the EF number, the more energy efficient your water heater will be.


Water heaters are essential components of a home’s heating system. Installing them can be challenging for an average homeowner.

Before installing a new water heater or replacing an existing one, consider the tank size, warranty, energy efficiency, and the type of energy used. Also, find out if your installing contractor offers a warranty too.

Lastly, if your water heater isn’t broken, and you’re happy using it, don’t get carried away trying to fix it.