Water Heaters

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a 50 Gallon Water Heater


The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a 50 Gallon Water Heater

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Why a 50 Gallon Water Heater Could Be The Perfect Solution For Your Home

Whether you are planning on upgrading your current water heating system or installing a new one, the amount of hot water a system can provide is an important factor to consider. One of the most popular choices among homeowners and contractors alike is a 50 gallon water heater. This robust-sized water heater strikes the perfect balance between capacity and efficiency, making it perfect for medium to large-sized households. So, what makes a 50 gallon water heater special?

Understanding the Capacity of a 50 Gallon Water Heater

A 50 gallon water heater is designed to hold and heat up to 50 gallons of water. This capacity is enough to provide ample hot water for a family of four to five people, depending on usage patterns. It also offers the convenience of simultaneous multi-usage such as running the dishwasher, taking showers, and washing clothes all at the same time.

Types of 50 Gallon Water Heaters

There are several types of 50 gallon water heaters available in the market. Knowing your options can guide you to choose the best one to meet your hot water needs. Here they are:

  • Electric Water Heaters: These units use electric resistance coils to heat water. They are exceptionally energy-efficient and easy to install.
  • Gas Water Heaters: They utilize natural gas or propane to heat water. These units typically heat water faster than electric models.
  • Hybrid Water Heaters: These modern water heaters use a heat pump to extract heat from the surrounding air to warm up water. They can save up to 60% on energy costs.
  • Tankless Water Heaters: While they typically don't hold 50 gallons, they can provide the equivalent amount of hot water via "on demand" heating.

The Efficiency of 50 Gallon Water Heaters

When it comes to efficiency, a 50 gallon water heater typically offers more bang for your buck. It operates by maintaining a set temperature for the water in the tank, ensuring that hot water is always ready for use. The exact energy efficiency will depend on the exact model and the energy source, but on average, these water heaters can maintain efficiency rates of 90% or higher.

Installation and Maintenance of a 50 Gallon Water Heater

Installation costs for 50 gallon water heaters can vary, but they're usually straightforward for a professional to install. They can typically be installed in closets, basements, or garages.

Maintenance and Longevity

A 50 gallon water heater, if maintained properly, can last between 10 to 15 years. Regular maintenance includes an annual check-up by a professional, maintaining the appropriate temperature, and periodically draining the tank to remove sediment.

Budgeting for a 50 Gallon Water Heater

The cost of a 50 gallon water heater can vary greatly, depending on the type, brand, and efficiency rating. It's possible to find a quality unit ranging from $500 to over $1500. Keep in mind that this doesn't include installation, which could add several hundred dollars to the total cost.

The Long-Term Savings

While it may seem like a hefty upfront investment, a 50 gallon water heater can save you money in the long run. More efficient water heating reduces energy usage, leading to lower monthly utility bills.

How to Choose the Right 50 Gallon Water Heater for Your Home

Choosing the best 50 gallon water heater depends on several factors: your hot water needs, space for installation, energy source available, budget, and desired energy-efficiency. Research various models, compare energy ratings, and consider your specific hot water usage when making your decision.

A 50 gallon water heater can provide a comfortable and efficient solution for your hot water requirements. From morning showers to evening clean-ups, it ensures that your home has a reliable supply of hot water whenever needed. Choosing the right unit is a long-term investment, so do your homework and choose wisely.

Frequently Asked Questions about 50 Gallon Water Heaters

What are the dimensions of a 50 Gallon Water Heater?

The dimensions of a 50 gallon water heater may vary based on the model and brand. However, in general, they usually measure about 60 inches high and 20 inches in diameter.

How much does a 50 Gallon Water Heater weigh?

A 50 gallon water heater typically weighs between 130 to 200 pounds when empty. The exact weight depends on whether it's a gas or electric model and the materials used in its construction.

How long does it take a 50 Gallon Water Heater to heat up?

Generally, an electric 50 gallon water heater may take about one to two hours to heat up, while a similar capacity gas heater might take less than an hour. This time can be influenced by the incoming water temperature and heating element efficiency.

What is the average lifespan of a 50 Gallon Water Heater?

The average lifespan of a 50 gallon water heater is about 10-15 years. It can vary based on the quality of water it processes, how often it's used, and how well it's maintained.

What are the energy costs associated with a 50 Gallon Water Heater?

The energy cost for a 50 gallon water heater depends on the unit's energy efficiency, your location, and your utility rates. On average, however, you can expect to spend about $400-$600 per year on energy costs.

How often should I drain my 50 Gallon Water Heater?

Experts typically recommend draining a 50 gallon water heater at least once a year. This helps to remove sediment and prevent wear and tear on the tank.

Can I install a 50 Gallon Water Heater myself?

While it is possible to self-install a 50 gallon water heater, it is usually recommended to hire a professional. Installation includes working with plumbing, potential gas lines, and heavy lifting.

What are the safety precautions for a 50 Gallon Water Heater?

Always ensure your 50 gallon water heater is installed correctly and maintained regularly. Keep the area around the heater clear. Following manufacturer instructions for temperature settings and safety features is vital. If it's a gas model, make sure that ventilation is sufficient.

What types of 50 Gallon Water Heaters are available?

There are several types of 50 gallon water heaters available, including gas, electric, tankless, and solar. Each has its own unique features and benefits, so the right choice depends on your specific needs.

Which brands are reputable for 50 Gallon Water Heaters?

Many brands are well known for quality 50 gallon water heaters, such as Rheem, A.O. Smith, and Bradford White. However, it's always a good idea to read reviews and compare features to make the best choice for your needs.

What size home is suitable for a 50 Gallon Water Heater?

A 50 gallon water heater is generally suitable for a home with 3-5 people. This provides enough hot water for showers, laundry, dishes, and other daily needs.

What maintenance should I perform on a 50 Gallon Water Heater?

Regular maintenance on a 50 gallon water heater includes draining the tank annually, checking for leaks, inspecting the pressure relief valve, and hiring a professional for a thorough check-up every few years.

Can a 50 gallon water heater run out of hot water?

Yes, a 50 gallon water heater can run out of hot water, especially if multiple hot water-using appliances are running simultaneously, or there are back-to-back showers. However, it should replenish fairly quickly.

Pros and Cons of a 50-Gallon Water Heater

Pros of a 50-Gallon Water Heater

Highly Sufficient for Average-Sized Families

  • The capacity of a 50-gallon water heater is quite adequate for medium to large-sized families. It can supply enough hot water for multiple showers, running dishwashers, and doing laundry.

Availability of Multiple Energy Sources

  • 50-gallon water heaters can run on several energy sources including gas, electricity, and solar power. This versatility allows homeowners to choose the most efficient and available power source for their residential area.

Availability in Different Models

  • 50-gallon water heaters come in both tank and tankless models, giving homeowners a broad choice based on their preference, space availability and energy efficiency requirements.

Longer Lifespan

  • With proper maintenance, a 50-gallon water heater often offers a longer lifespan compared to smaller units. They commonly last up to 12-15 years.

Cons of a 50-Gallon Water Heater

High Initial Costs

  • Purchasing and installing a 50-gallon water heater can be costly. The total cost includes not only the unit itself but also professional installation services.

Presence of Standby Energy Losses in Tank Model

  • Tank 50-gallon water heaters can contribute to standby energy losses. This occurs when the heater keeps the water hot in the tank even when not in use, resulting in energy wastage and higher utility bills.

Space Requirement

  • A 50-gallon water heater, especially the tank model, requires a significant amount of space. It might be problematic for homes with limited space.

Longer Recovery Time

  • The recovery time of a 50-gallon water heater, especially for an electric unit, can be relatively longer. This means it takes more time to heat up the water supply once the tank has been emptied.

Increased Risk of Overuse and Short Cycling

  • With a larger water heater like one with a 50-gallon capacity, there is a temptation to overuse hot water or risk 'short cycling'. This is where a water heater frequently turns on and off, thereby reducing its lifespan.

Potential Difficulty in Installation

  • Depending on the location and size of your home, installing a larger water heater such as a 50-gallon unit may present logistical challenges that can make the installation process difficult and potentially more expensive.
So, when considering a 50-gallon water heater, it's essential to weigh these pros and cons based on your personal situation and requirements. Optimal choice might vary depending on size and requirement of the household, available space, and preferred energy source.


Every home surely deserves a hot water facility that's not just effective but also energy-wise. That's where a 50 gallon water heater comes into play. It's not just about the capacity, but also about having consistent hot water supply. Though it might be a bit costly at the beginning, in the long run, considering the durability and efficiency of a 50 gallon water heater, you'll realize the investment was worthwhile.

Thinking about those brisk winter mornings, stepping into an instantly warm shower can feel like a luxury. That luxury is made possible by the 50 gallon water heater. No more dealing with the unpredictability of water temperatures. With this heater, comfort is guaranteed. Not to forget, it’s not just about comfort but also time-saving; your water heats up quicker than ever!

The 50 gallon water heater is an essential appliance for any household, granting the convenience and assurance of a constant hot water supply. With this, not only are you investing in your comfort but also in a highly efficient and durable appliance that will serve you for years to come. It's time to make those freezing winter days a bit more bearable with a warm, luxurious shower.

About West Coast Hydronics & Plumbing

Located in the beautiful city of Sacramento, CA, West Coast Hydronics & Plumbing is your trusted source for all your plumbing and hydronics needs. For years, we've been providing top-quality services to our esteemed clients, using our vast knowledge, expertise, and commitment to excellence. Whether you're looking for simple repairs or complex installations, our friendly, reliable team has got you covered. We continually strive to uphold our reputation for high standards and cost-effective solutions. Learn more about us and our exceptional services at our website.