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August 10, 2023

How Long Does It Take a Water Heater to Recover?

Complete Comfort can solve all your water heater issues. Call (317) 754-8511 today to schedule service! 

Imagine getting ready for your day with a house full of people who also need to bathe before heading out the door. By the time you step into the shower, you’re met with the shock of ice-cold water streaming from the shower head. To avoid this inconvenience, you need an answer to one crucial question: how long does it take a water heater to recover?

Your home’s hot water heater needs to meet several demands, but when the supply runs out, you need to plan enough time for water heater recovery. Learn more about this important topic from the experts behind Greenwood’s trusted water heater services

What Is Water Heater Recovery?

When you hear plumbers use the term “water heater recovery,” it simply means the total time your system needs to warm up again. Every hot water heater is different, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution for increasing your supply fast. However, there are a few factors to consider when figuring out how long your tank’s recovery time is. 

How Long Does it Take a Water Heater to Recover?

The recovery time usually varies based on water heater size, power source, and much more. For example, conventional tanks that hold 80 gallons of water take roughly 60 to 70 minutes to heat up if they are gas-powered. An electric storage tank water heater takes a bit longer to recover and typically needs about two hours to replenish its supply.

Of all the water heater energy sources, natural gas remains the most efficient but you also need to consider the size of the tank. A gas-powered tank that holds well over 100 gallons of water may not heat up as quickly as an electric system that only holds 60 gallons. 

Keep in mind this information is only relevant for conventional water heaters that have a tank. Modern tankless units provide hot water on demand, regardless of their energy source. However, even with a tankless water heater, it’s important to make sure you install the correct size to fit your home’s needs. 

Other factors that play a role in your water heater’s recovery time include the first-hour rating, temperature rise, age of your system, and the amount of sediment build-up within the tank.

Understanding Your Water Heater’s First-Hour Rating

If you look at the Energy Star label on your water heater, you’ll find a figure that details the first-hour rating. This number is how many gallons of hot water you’ll receive from your system during the first hour of use. These labels are easy to understand as they go on a sliding scale from a very small rating to a high rating. 

Say you have an 80-gallon tank that operates on natural gas. The first-hour rating of this tank is medium and amounts to 70 gallons within the hour. 

This figure will depend on the specific model and energy source of your water heater but as a general rule of thumb, the higher the first-hour rating, the faster the recovery time. 

How Temperature Rise Impacts Water Heater Recovery

One final factor that impacts the question “How long does it take a water heater to recover?” is temperature rise. This term refers to the change in temperature from the water as it first enters the tank to the final temperature you want it to reach. Assuming all homeowners keep their desired water temperature in the same range, their temperature rise will come down to their geographic location. 

For example, the average groundwater temperature in Indiana is around 50 degrees. Compare that with the average incoming water temperature in Florida of 72 degrees. If homeowners in both states set their water heater to reach 120 degrees, the one in Indiana will have to wait longer to receive hot water. 

Common Water Heater Problems That Increase Recovery Time

Say you have a gas-powered tank with a high first-hour rating and favorable temperature rise, but you’re still facing a slow water heater recovery. It’s likely that the issue comes down to the age and condition of your unit. Experts typically need to address the following issues when homeowners ask how long it takes a water heater to recover:

  • Sediment build-up: Debris build-up can encase the bottom of the tank, which makes it difficult to heat the water inside. 
  • Damaged coils or burners: The tank will take longer to heat up if the gas burners or electric heating coils are damaged. Repairing or replacing these components can improve your recovery time.
  • Improper sizing: A tank that is too small for your needs will usually take a long time to recover since it can’t keep up with the demands of the household. 
  • Dip tube damage: This piece sends colder, incoming water to the bottom of the tank so it can heat up faster. A broken dip tube can lower the overall temperature of the tank and slow the heating time. 

A professional plumber can inspect your tank and provide solutions for these common problems.

How to Improve Water Heater Recovery Times

Even if you rarely run out of hot water, it can be frustrating to wait around for a fresh supply to heat up. So what can you do to speed up the water heater recovery? The following actions can lead to recovery improvement:

  • Switching from an electric system to natural gas water heater
  • Adjusting the size of your tank  
  • Replacing an old, worn-out tank with a newer model

A new government initiative that aims to boost the efficiency rating of water heaters can also help your household maintain a steady supply of hot water without making your energy bills skyrocket. 

Contact the Water Heater Experts at Complete Comfort 

How long does it take a water heater to recover? What happens if there is too much pressure in hot water heaters? Our licensed technicians have the answers to these questions, among others, and can help maintain your water heater. 

Call our Complete Comfort Heating, Air & Plumbing team at (317) 754-8511 to schedule water heater services in Greenwood, IN.