Speedy Service -   60 mins Response time
Book online

Table Of Contents

How Long Do Water Heaters Take To Heat?

A water heater is one of those home appliances that are regularly used but easy to ignore. You are dependent on it to provide comfortable hot showers and keep enough warm water on hand to wash your dishes. When your water heater works in good condition, you probably don't give it much thought.

Only when there is a problem does your water heater come to the forefront of your mind. One question that you should consider is, how long does it take your water heater to heat the water? Or, more specifically, how long should your water heater take to heat water? Let's find out!

Types Of Water Heaters And Heat Up Times

Tankless water heaters

Tankless water heaters operate on demand, meaning they only heat and supply you with water when needed. This should only take a minute or so in theory. A tankless water heater works really well unless everyone in the house is trying to get hot water simultaneously. In such a case, you may run into problems, such as lukewarm water or no hot water.

Tank water heaters

Tank heaters store water for a variety of purposes. Warming up a gas tank water heater takes about half an hour to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the gas tank and the heater's BTU (British Thermal Unit) rating. The BTU of a gas heater is the amount of heat produced to raise the temperature of a pound of water (0.5 Litres) by one degree Fahrenheit.

Gas water heaters

The water in a gas water heater tank typically takes 30 to 40 minutes to heat up thoroughly. This may seem like a long time, but remember that the hot water heater stores its heated contents and sends them through the pipes as needed. Thus, unless you're running hot water around the clock, there will always be water in the tank.

The hot water speed totally depends on how well your pipes are insulated and how close the water heater is to your faucet or shower. If the distance is small, the hot water only takes a few seconds or a few minutes to reach you.

Electric water heaters

Electric water heaters typically take twice as long as gas heaters to heat up. It would be best to wait about an hour or more for electric water heaters to heat its tank completely. Unfortunately, the heat produced by electron agitation is slower than that produced by a fire. The burner's position at the tank bottom also promotes better heat dissipation because it moves upward naturally.

An electric heating element is located on the tank's side. As heat naturally rises, it does not travel far from the heating element to the other side of the tank. As a result, an electric water heater takes longer to heat water. It's also why many electric water heaters have smaller tank capacities than gas water heaters.

Solar water heaters

Some homeowners install solar panels to collect energy. This is the best way to use energy to power a water heater. These systems can provide adequate hot water, but only if you live in a region with abundant sunlight all year. You'll most likely need to support the solar system with a gas or electric water heater.

Purchase Price Of Water Heaters

Electric water heaters cost less to buy than gas water heaters. While you can always buy expensive water heaters in either electric or gas models, you'll usually have to go with electric if you want a less expensive heater.

Most electric water heaters range in price from $500 to $800. At the same time, most of them are in the $500 to $600 range. In the case of gas water heaters, most range in price from $600 to $800.

What Impacts A Water Heater's Heating Speed?

Several factors determine the heat-up time of a water heater. Understanding these variables will help you determine why one water heater heats up faster than another.


Although a hot water heater appears to be simple compared to other household mechanicals, they often have more complex settings. If your heater isn't heating up, a professional may be required to inspect any settings or calibration that could be the cause affecting its performance.

Size of the water heater

Water heaters are not all the same size. Larger tanks provide more hot water. The average gas water heater's capacity ranges from 40 to 50 Gallons (181-227 Litres). The ability of the heater tank can also affect the water heater's first-hour rating and recovery time.

The first-hour rating indicates how many gallons of hot water the device can produce per hour when the tank is full. The recovery time reflects the system's ability to deliver warm water within one hour of emptying its contents. Recovery time is heavily influenced by heating efficiency and tank size. The incoming temperature can also have an effect on recovery time.

Increase in temperature

Temperature rise is basically the difference between the incoming and outgoing water temperatures. If you live in a cold region, you can expect groundwater temperatures of 60 degrees Fahrenheit or 15 degrees Celsius. In these areas, the showers can be icy cold.

When compared to sunny weather, the water temperature is around 80 degrees Fahrenheit or 27 degrees Celsius. The most comfortable shower temperature for most people is between 100 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit or 37 and 40 degrees Celsius. The lower the inlet water temperature, the longer it takes to heat up.

Water at 60 degrees Fahrenheit or 15 degrees Celsius, for example, will take longer to reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius) than water at 70 or 80 degrees Fahrenheit (21 or 27 degrees Celsius). The longer it takes to heat water, the higher the temperature rises.

Type of fuel

As mentioned earlier, gas water heaters heat water faster than electric water heaters. We know that electricity and fire generate heat, but they do so differently. Fire is a chemical process that reflects heat, fuel, and oxygen interaction. The resulting combustion ruptures chemical bonds, releasing thermal energy known as heat.

As a result, gas heat is hotter than electric heat. On the other hand, electricity is nothing more than the movement of electrons through a conductor. Some of these electrons collide with other electrons or atomic particles, causing friction and heat.

Some households use a solar heater powered by sunlight as a backup energy source. While using solar heaters to heat water is less expensive, the waiting time can be longer than using gas burners or electric elements.

Problems with maintenance

Failure to clean the water tank regularly can result in sediment build-up and the formation of limescale on the heating elements. There may also be dissolved minerals. The combination of mineral deposits and sediment build-up can impact the system's heating capabilities.

The situation is worsened in hard water households due to increased calcium, iron, and other heavy metals in the water, resulting in more stubborn sediment build-up. These molecules can combine to form rust or limescale, risking the functionality of the plumbing and water heater. Thus, a hard water heater is an excellent choice.

Pipe diameter

Water pipes with large diameters are popular because they provide more water to the home's shower, kitchen sink, and other areas. These pipes also have a higher flow rate, so everyone gets more hot water. Unfortunately, increased water volume can also mean longer water heater heat-up times.

Distance from water appliance

A water heater 120 feet (36.5 metres) away from the shower will have slightly cooler water at the shower end than a device 60 feet (18 metres) away. To increase the hot water, water heater installers aim to reduce the distance between the device and all hot water-using appliances.

Why Electric Water Heaters Take Long To Heat

What happens if your hot water heater isn't working correctly? What should you do if your hot water heater takes too long to heat water? There are a few basic reasons your hot water may run slowly, whether you have a gas or electric heater.


It might just be a matter of distance. Remember that water must travel via pipes from your water heater to the faucet or showerhead. The greater the distance between your sink or shower and the hot water heater, the longer it will take hot water to reach you.

Low volume restrictor

You may have a low volume restrictor. Some appliances, such as showers, have water-restricting devices installed. This can result in the slow delivery of hot water. You should contact a plumber if you suspect this is the case with your faucet or shower.

Replacement needs

Your water heater might be near the end of its useful life. You could simply have an old hot water heater that is about to fail. A water heater has an average lifespan of about ten years; if yours has reached that point and is no longer performing as well as it should, consider replacing it.

Sediment accumulation

Another reason your heater is taking long to heat up is that sediment could be accumulating in your tank. Sediment accumulation inside your water heater tank over time obstructs the heat transfer.

As a result, your water heater takes longer than it should to provide you with hot water. Fortunately, flushing the tank usually solves the problem. You can do it yourself or hire a professional plumber to do it for you.

Too small heater

Another possibility is that your water heater is simply too small for the number of people in your household. It might be time to consider upgrading to a larger tank size. In some cases, getting a second water heater may make more sense. Inquire with your plumber about the various options available.

Increasing The Heating Speed Of Your System

You can try a few options to speed up your hot water delivery.

Purchase a hot water recirculating system

This will speed up the flow of water from the heater to the tap. It also returns unused hot water to the tank. A timer or a thermostat can activate recirculation. These are often effective in increasing the efficiency of your water heater.

Change to a tankless model

A tankless water heater, by definition, will provide you with hot water faster than a tank model. Tankless water heaters have become more affordable as they have become more popular. Seek clarification with your plumber about some of the options and the advantages of going tankless.

Consider getting a bigger tank

Again, your problem could be as simple as having a tank designed for two people that a family of four or five is using. To get a larger tank, talk to your plumber about the best option for your household size.

Hot Water Recovery Time

When you have used all of the water in your electric water heater tank, it takes some time for the heater to replenish. This is known as the recovery period. Of course, this only applies to tank heaters, not tankless heaters.

Many factors can influence an electric water heater's recovery time. These include the size of a tank, the type of fuel being used, and the temperature of the heated water. Naturally, your unit takes a little longer to heat extremely cold water.

These are some of the factors when considering your hot water heater's performance. Keep in mind that there are always ways to improve the efficiency of your unit. Contact a professional plumber to check out your electric water heater if it's giving you problems.


Our Customers

Christopher Chow

I called Hero Plumbing to unblock a shower drain and was unable to get a quote over the phone, but Sam the owner was here same day. After his first try, he made quick work of the blockage. I opted to also get the acid cleaner stuff poured down. Sam had run out, but made a trip to go pick some up to finish the job. If you opt for this treatment make sure you can easily air the bathroom as it’s extremely strong and produces a lot of fumes. Great Service and Honest Pricing.

Sarah Lincon

Hero Plumbing has been excellent since there first phone call.
I spoke to a gentlemen names Sam which he organised a technician to come and replace our hot water heater.
The technician was excellent called me 30mins before arrival explained the whole job to me and gave me an upfront price.
Excellent work Hero team.
We are a Hero member now and always look forward to working with them.

Jared Evans

We've used Hero Plumbing previously. Both times reliable and flexible with changing times (helpful during covid ISO periods!)
Hayden was on time and explained the issue clearly, fixed it,then also did some extra checks on water pressure and taps to ensure there were no underlying issues.
Would recommend their services.

Denzi K

Hero Plumbing has been our go to plumber for years.

They replaced our hot water system with excellent workmanship, professionalism and in a timely manner - as always!

Hayden Davidson

Brilliant service from the first phone call to Hero Plumbing as Sam the manager booked us in very efficiently. I received a confirmation  email, a phone call on approach and all went smoothly & work conducted was beautiful . The team did a great job even dig up on our sewer and cut concrete & repaired the issue and our sewer is running like a dream.
Thanks for your great efforts guys!


Victoria Barmina

I knew Sam when he was working alone. And from the first time I was pleasantly surprised by his work. A little later I found out that he has his own business. I am very happy about that. And I am very glad for myself that I have such a company that I can always rely on.

Thank you for your work. People need you very much.

Copyright 2024 Hero Plumbing | All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policies | Terms & Conditions | License No #351669C