how long can you shower with a 50 gallon water heater

How Long Can You Shower With A 50 Gallon Water Heater?

Some days you really look forward to a nice, long hot shower. But running out of hot water while showering can be quite unpleasant. Nobody likes the shock of ice cold water.  So, how long can you shower with a 50 gallon water heater?

A 50 gallon hot water heater with a temperature set around 120-140 degrees Fahrenheit will allow you to shower for around 17 minutes before you will run out of hot water. A average shower time is just under 8 minutes and uses about 16-17 gallons of water depending on your shower head and water flow.

No one likes to run out of hot water in the middle of a relaxing shower. So, it’s important to know how long your water heater will last when you are having a shower.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the things that you need to know to stop the heater from running out of water during your shower. 

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

So the next big question some of you may have is how many showers can you get out of a 50 gallon heater?

On a national average of 8 minutes to take a shower you can can get 2 showers out of a 50 gallon water heater. Based on 17 minutes of hot water run time at 2.1 gallons per minute shower head flow calculation also from a 50 gallon water heater.

How Long Will Your Hot Water Last? 

There are a few factors that might influence how long hot water will last such as capacity, type of shower head, temperature of the water (how hot you like your showers), and household demand at the time of showering. Let’s take a look at these further.

Capacity of Hot Water Heater

How much hot water you’ll be able to get will depend on a range of factors. One of the most important is the capacity of the water heater, 20, 40, 50 gallon or bigger. This is the amount of hot water that you will be able to produce. This might not always be the amount listed on the heater. 

To find the capacity of the water heater, you’ll need to use the first-hour rating. This can be found on the energy efficiency sticker that comes with the water heater.  This tells you how much hot water you will be able to produce in the first hour of use. At this time, the water heater will be full of hot water. 

Type of Shower Head and Water Flow

The other factor that will impact how long your hot water will last is the type of shower head that you are using. In this area, there are a few things that you need to consider. First, you’ll need to measure the flow rate from your shower head. This will tell you how quickly your shower uses water. 

It’s very easy to use this measurement. In this case, you’ll need to get a one-gallon bucket. Place it under the faucet. Turn on the shower and time how long it takes for the bucket to fill with water. The faster the bucket fills, the faster you will run out water when you take a shower. The average flow rate will be 2.1 gallons per minute

Temperature of Your Shower

The other important factor to consider is how hot you have your showers. The warmer your preferred temperature, the more hot water you will require. As a result, you will run out of water at a faster rate.

Demand and Usage of Hot Water

Finally, you’ll need to think about whether any appliances are running while you are having a shower. If you leave your dishwasher or washing machine on, more hot water will be required. Because of this, the supply will run out faster when you are taking a shower. 

Each of these factors will affect how long your hot water will last when you are taking a shower. This can make it difficult to predict. Based on the average flow rate and shower temperature, a 50-gallon water heater should be able to provide for a 17-minute shower.

Why Is My Water Heater Running Out Of Hot Water Faster? 

In most cases, there are three reasons why this is happening. First, it might be a sediment build-up in the heater. Secondly, it might be happening because of a faulty heating element. Third, it might be linked to a broken dip tube. 

When you notice that the hot water isn’t lasting as long as it used to, it might indicate a serious mechanical problem. The longer that it goes on, the worse the issue will become. When trying to find the issue, there are a few issues that you might want to look at. 

First, you will need to check that it isn’t caused by a sediment build-up. When water is added to the hot water heater, it comes with minerals and nutrients. These will settle at the bottom of the tank. Over time, this forms a sediment layer. The thicker this layer becomes the less space becomes available for hot water. This slows the flow rate. 

In other cases, you might find that the heating element is broken. When this happens, there won’t be as much hot water being produced. This might also be linked with a build-up of sediment. This type of malfunction can also be caused by a wiring problem. 

Finally, the issue might be linked with a faulty dip tube. This is responsible for making sure that the cold water is put at the bottom of the tank, where it will be heated. If the tube is broken, the cold water will be getting put at the top of the tank. There, it will mix with the hot water. This can reduce the temperature of the water the heater is producing. 

It’s also worth looking at some other concerns as well. This can include things like broken pipes, which can result in water leakage. In other cases, it might be time to replace the heater. In most cases, you’ll need to replace the heater every decade. 

Once you start to suspect that something is wrong with your water heater, you’ll need to call in a plumber. They will be able to examine the unit for you. This will allow them to get the cause of the problem and fix it. If you think that the problem could be caused by a relatively simple issue, like a broken heating element, you might be able to remove and replace the part yourself. Only do this if you have the right tools and are confident you can complete the procedure. 

Summary Of Main Causes For Low Amount of Hot Water

The three main reasons why your hot water heating is running out of water faster are summarized below. 

ReasonWarning Signs
Sediment Layer Build-UpKnocking or cracking noises when the heater is working Signs of sediment in the water 
Broken Heating ElementColder than normal showers Hot water takes longer to produce
Faulty Dip TubeColder than normal water Fluctuations in water temperature

How Can I Extend How Long My Hot Water Lasts For? 

There are a few ways that you will be able to make sure that your hot water lasts for a long time.

To extend how long your hot water lasts use more water-efficient faucets and appliances. Also limit your water consumption during peak use when everyone needs to use hot water. Schedule your laundry wash times. Newer digital washing machines can often be scheduled or timer delayed to turn on during off peak times saving you on hot water and electricity costs.

When you buy a new electronic device, it will tell you how water-efficient it is, based on a star ranking. The more stars, the higher the water efficiency. Be sure to buy one with a timer for scheduling washes during off peak times.

If you are living with multiple people, use timers in the shower. This ensures that everyone will be able to enjoy hot water. Another simple act would be to turn off the shower for a minute while you lather up. A minute here and a minute there can add up and in the long run save on hot water and money.

Final Thoughts

Implement several of the steps we mentioned in our article here and it should help you extend the amount of time you can shower with a 50 gallon water heater.

If you have noticed that your hot water during shower time has slowly been diminishing or that the temperature has been fluctuating you might have an issue with the hot water heater itself. When this happens, it’s often a sign that you will need to maintain your water heater. It may just be as simple as turning up the temperature of the hot water heater, or it might be time for a service call if you can’t trouble shoot it yourself.