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Thread: Code: Minimum Hot Water Capacity Replacement

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  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member bocatrip's Avatar
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    Default Code: Minimum Hot Water Capacity Replacement

    Hi All. I have a 2 bedroom 2 bath Villa in Florida, built in 1999. I want to replace my AO smith 52 Gallon electric hot water heater due to it's age. No leaks so far. Is there any building code which requires a minimun capacity replacement? I live alone and was thinking of getting a 12 year GE 40 gallon unit as not to waster money heating water I am never using? Anyone know if I'm required to get a specific size unit? Would a 40 gallon suffice for my usage? I was told that the newer units are more efficient and have a higher recovery rate. Any feedback would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    DIY Senior Member kreemoweet's Avatar
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    As far as I know, there is no code requiring you to have a water heater at all. There may some local or Florida
    regulation though, which I wouldn't know about.

  3. #3
    In the Trades liquidplumber's Avatar
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    You should be able to downsize your heater with no problems. Ive never heard of any ordinance that wouldnt allow you to do that. (theres no code covering that, but you should check local ordinance just to be extra sure.... I highly doubt there is)
    Also consider installing a timer for the most cost savings. If your life has a fairly regular schedule (up at 6, out the door by 7 home at 5, in bed by midnight) most days, a timer will save you alot of money. Most folks find that the savings pay for the cost of the timer within a few months.
    Every time an electric water heater comes on its the same as turning on 45, 100watt light bulbs!!! If you use a timer to regulate the heater to only run the few hours a day when you would actually be home and using hot water, the savings add up pretty quick.

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    Yes a residence is required to have hot water. A 40 gal is fine for a 2 bedrrom two bath home without a garden tub. Thats pushing it however,for sure check with local code department to protect yourself if you decide to sell.
    Last edited by Hackney plumbing; 02-19-2012 at 08:04 PM.

  5. #5
    DIY Senior Member JerryR's Avatar
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    According to the Energy guides, The 50 gallon GE 6 year energy guide vs the 40 gallon GE 12 year is only a $12 per year difference.

    In Florida (Boca?) the real life difference will be even less due to the cold water supply temp rarely exceeds 75dF.

    If you have a Roman tub you will need at least 50 gallon HW heater to fill it with warm water. *I know as I just went through this at my 3 Br 2 bath house in Sarasota. *The home was built in 2001 and came with a 40 gallon / dual 4500 watt element heater. *Replaced it with 50 gallon and it made all the difference.*

    I have 6 year, 50 gallon HWH from Home Depot in both homes, list price $265 and they do a great job.
    JR

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    You can install any size heater you want to, and you do NOT even have to turn it on if that is okay with you. You could even install a 30 gallon heater but it would probably cost you more than a 40 gallon one. For all practical purposes, you only heat the water you use so the size of the heater is immaterial.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    You can install any size heater you want to, and you do NOT even have to turn it on if that is okay with you. You could even install a 30 gallon heater but it would probably cost you more than a 40 gallon one. For all practical purposes, you only heat the water you use so the size of the heater is immaterial.
    Some codes require a certain size water heater based off the bedrooms and baths of a residence. Local ammendments or state codes can specify this. You will have it operating for inspection. In new home construction the final will not be given without the water heater installed and in operation.

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