How Long Will It Take for Your Water Heater to Heat Up

How Long Will It Take for Your Water Heater to Heat Up?

Taking a hot shower is one of the most beautiful experiences you can have in your home, and depending on the type of day, in the entire world. Unfortunately, hot water heaters aren’t magic devices that can produce an endless supply of hot water.

Hot water heaters take time to turn cold water into hot water. So, how long for hot water heaters to heat after reset?

Tankless Water Heater

Types of Water Heaters

The type of water heater you have plays a big role in answering, “How long for hot water heaters to heat after reset?” Let’s take a look at the types of water heaters available to you and the amount of time it takes for them to heat water.

Gas Water Heaters

Gas water heaters are the most traditional and effective ways to heat water for your home. This is the preferred power source when it comes to heating water.

One of the many benefits of gas water heaters is that they have provided homeowners with low electrical bills. This is because they don’t use electric elements to heat water;

they use gas burners located at the bottom of the water heater. So, their recovery time after reset is much faster.

The average gas heater doesn’t take long to heat a full tank of water, although it does depend on the size of the heater.

A 40-gallon tank will take anywhere between 30 to 40 minutes to heat up after reset, whereas an 80-gallon tank will take between 60 and 70 minutes.

Electric Water Heaters

Electric water heaters are less efficient than gas water heaters when it comes to heating water after reset. This is because they use electric heating elements that are located inside the tank.

The recovery time of an electric water heater is longer than that of a gas water heater. A 40-gallon tank will take 60 to 80 minutes, and an 80-gallon tank will give you hot water in about two hours.

Heat Pump Water Heaters

This type of water heater is typically called a hybrid because they’re modified electric water heaters. Heat pump water heaters use the incoming electricity to move heat around inside the heater, which increases their efficiency. They do not generate direct heat.

Heat pump water heaters are typically high-tech, which gives you the option for a variety of energy-saving settings. These settings typically include a high-demand and hybrid option.

In hybrid mode, the water heater uses less energy, but this does increase the time it takes for the unit to heat the water.

The wait time for hot water can be two hours when your water heater is set in hybrid mode. The wait time is also dependent on the tank’s size.

However, if you use high-demand mode, the electric part of the heat pump water heater will kick in and lessen the time to between 60 and 80 minutes.

Tankless Water Heaters

If you want a water heater with little to no wait time, a tankless water heater is the choice for you. Tankless water heaters work as you need them. They don’t have tanks.

This means that there is no stored water. So, the water comes in when you need it and then heats the water as needed.

You can choose from different sizes to ensure you get the best fit for your home.  With all of that being said, the average wait time for hot water after a reset is typically a minute.

Plumber Repairing an Hot-Water Heater

Factors That Have an Influence on the Heating Time

Another answer to “How long for hot water heater to heat after reset?” includes other factors influencing the heating time. Water heaters are easily influenced by various factors that affect how long it takes for a water heater to heat up after a reset.

First Hour Rating

A first hour rating is how many gallons your water heater can give you in the first hour that it is in use. It shows the capability of your water heater after it has recovered a full tank of water and has gotten it to again reach the temperature you want.

Higher first hour ratings equate to shorter waiting times for hot water. The first hour rating depends on the size of the heating burners or elements, the tank capacity, and the fuel source.

Recovery Rate

The recovery rate of a water heater is how many gallons of water the unit can provide per hour as the unit is being used. This rate tells you how quickly the hot water heater can recover (aka refill) with cold water and then heat that water.

Having a water heater with a high recovery rate will give you hot water faster because it takes less time for the water to heat up.

So, even if you’re using a lot of hot water at one time, a water heater with a high recovery rate will be able to quickly convert cold water to hot water.

Size of Your Water Heater

The water heater size in your home is another major factor that can slow down the overall heating time of your water heater. As we mentioned earlier when we talked about the different types of water heaters, the larger the tank is, the longer it takes for the heater to heat the water. This is because there’s simply more water to heat up.

Larger tanks generally have a large burner or two heating elements to speed up the heating time. Still, smaller tanks will take less time to heat up.

But with a smaller tank, you’re more likely to run out of water than with a large tank. So even though you have less time to wait for hot water, you’re more likely to run out of water after minor tasks.

Water Temperature

Did you know that the EPA recommends you have your water heater set at around 120-degrees Fahrenheit? However, this may not be the ideal setting for everyone.

If you set the temperature too low on your water heater, it can have negative effects, just like if you were to set it too high. A water heater for a larger family should be set between 120 and 140-degrees Fahrenheit.

Depending on where you live may also factor into how long it will take for your water heater to heat up. There is a difference between the preset temperature you have and the incoming water. If the inlet water is on the colder side, then it will take longer to heat up.

Also, if you live up north, then the inlet water temperature will be lower than those homes you would find down south in a warmer climate.

Fuel Type

As you saw earlier in this article, fuel type plays a big role in recovery time. Gas water heaters, as we mentioned earlier, heat a lot faster than electric water heaters.

This is because the gas burners can reach a much higher temperature than the heating elements in electric units.

Maintenance/Age Issues

Fuel Type

Just as with any mechanical equipment, the age and condition of your water heater could play a role in how long it takes for it to heat up. A lack of maintenance, particularly failing to clean out sediment that can be left inside the pipes, can cause performance issues. Pipe sediment is more likely to happen in areas that have hard water.

Distance from Appliances

It’s easy to forget that your hot water is traveling from the ground through your water heater and the pipes in your home before it reaches the appliances you’re using.

The farther away your appliance is from the water heater, the longer it can take for the hot water to reach it.

Why Is It Taking Longer to Heat Up Suddenly?

As time goes on, your water heater will start to take longer to heat up due to the age of your heater. But if it suddenly starts to take longer prematurely, check for the following:

Requires Troubleshooting

If a buildup of sediment isn’t the issue with your water heater, it might be that the thermostat or heating elements need troubleshooting. This is a relatively easy process for an electric water heater but harder to do if you have gas.

So, it’s always recommended that you contact a professional before you try to troubleshoot by yourself, regardless of if you have an electric or gas water heater.

If you do have an electric water heater, here’s a quick rundown on how to troubleshoot it:

  1. Turn the breaker off to the water heater before you start to handle any electrical components. This ensures that you don’t get electrocuted
  2. Remove the access panel with a screwdriver and expose the upper thermostat
  3. Using a multimeter, check the wires for signs of voltage. All the wires should read as zero before continuing
  4. Using a flat-blade screwdriver, turn the arrow that indicates the temperature. Try to decrease the temperature a few degrees
  5. Replace the insulation and put the access panel back. You can then turn the breaker on to restore the power to your water heater

If you notice that it’s still taking a long time for the water to heat up, you might need to replace the heating elements, or your water heater might not be big enough for your water needs.

Sediment Buildup

One of the more common reasons you may find that your water heater will suddenly start taking longer to heat up is because of sediment buildup.

This issue is very common as your unit ages, but if you have hard water or fail to follow through with regular maintenance on your water heater, it can happen sooner rather than later.

Sediment buildup occurs when the minerals that are present in your water start to settle inside your tank. It can happen even if you have soft water with low amounts of minerals, but this will typically take longer for it to be noticeable.

Sediment buildup is made up of dissolved minerals such as calcium and magnesium that sit on the walls of the water heater tank and the heating elements.

Here are the three main signs that you have sediment buildup in your water heater:

  • You start to notice significantly higher energy bills
  • The water heater is starting to make strange noises, such as hissing, knocking, or popping
  • The water heater takes a much longer time to heat up, and you run out of hot water quicker than you did before

The easiest way to fix this issue is by flushing your water heater tank regularly. If you have an electric water heater unit, you may find that certain heating elements will need to be replaced.

How Long for Hot Water Heater to Heat After Reset?

How long for hot water heater to heat after reset depends on quite a few factors, including the type of water heater, the size of the heater, inlet water temperature, and more.

As a good rule of thumb, gas water heaters tend to heat up quicker than electric water heaters. But if you want a water heater that will work within minutes, you want to go with a tankless water heater.

But you might notice that the recovery time of your water heater suddenly increases even when your water heater isn’t that old. This could be due to sediment buildup.

If that’s the case, you need to flush the tank or call a professional to help you replace the electrical components of your water heater.

Amanda Perkins

Amanda began her career as a technical writer for a healthcare group in 2008. Years after getting married and starting a family, she joined her husband Joshua on the Water Filter Authority journey to educate other families and households about safe, affordable, and effective water filtration systems.