Extracting hot water from a sizeable tank-based water heater can be tedious and time-consuming. It could take a while to heat the entire 50-gallon tank if you stay in a very cold or hot scorching region.

The time it takes to heat 50 gallons of water depends on several factors, but one of the most crucial is the heater’s heating element. 

However, this is not the final part. The time it takes depends on several other factors, such as energy efficiency and ratings.

This post will answer the question, “How long does it take for a 50-gallon water heater to heat up?”

How Long Does It Take for a 50-Gallon Water Heater to Heat Up?

It takes around 1 hour and 20 minutes for a 50-gallon water heater with 5,500-watt elements set to 120 degrees to heat water from 60 degrees. However, when water enters the same tank at 40 degrees, it takes 1 hour and 47 minutes to reach the desired temperature. It takes 1 hour and 6 minutes for water that is 70 degrees when it enters the tank to reach 120 degrees.

How Long Does It Take For Water To Heat In A Water Heater?

With a 40 or 50-gallon gas heater, you shouldn’t have to wait more than 30 to 50 minutes for hot water if the incoming water is about 50 degrees. 

Hot water will be available after a little longer wait if you have an electric water heater with 5500 watts and set the temperature to 120 degrees. Still, the incoming water is only about 50 degrees. 

In 40- and 50-gallon containers, the time required is around 1 hour to 1 hour and 45 minutes. 

How long does it take for a 50-gallon water heater to heat up?

No matter the sort of water heater you have, getting hot water should take less than 2 hours. If it takes longer than 2 hours for your water heater to heat up, you should have it checked out.

Factors That Affect Time Required to Heat Water

We’ve established that it takes a water heater to reach the desired temperature range from half an hour to two hours. Now, let’s examine the variables at play.

1. Draw Efficiency

Drawing efficiency is the amount of water required to bring the temperature of the entire tank to a desired level. There is a limit to how much cold water the heater can warm up at once. 

To increase the temperature, it uses a specific draw efficiency calculation. 

Any respectable heater worth considering will have a draw efficiency of at least 70%. It’s crucial because the hot water is leaving the while the cold water enters. For this purpose, we will assume that 70% of the tank’s total volume is available.

2. First Hour Rates

A water heater’s first-hour rating results from a formula that estimates how much water will flow out of it during its first hour of operation. We use the heater’s temperature range, around 135 degrees Fahrenheit to determine the price.

The entire amount of water that flows out of the unit in the first hour constitutes the rating for that period. You should consider any heater with an excellent first-hour rating

The test, however, requires at least 3 liters of water and continues until the temperature decreases by 25 degrees.  A high FHR indicates that it can provide adequate quantities even during peak times.

3. The Recovery Rating

The recovery rating often indicates power requirements for heating the unit’s water. 

Regardless of how high or low you set the unit’s temperature, the water in the tank will always be far cooler than you expect. For this reason, it’s preferable to have a rapid rate of recovery that minimizes downtime. 

Gas-powered heaters, instead of electric ones, tend to produce better outcomes. Generally, they can heat a room half the time an electric heater would.

4. Water Heating Method

Tank-style water heaters are sometimes known as storage water heaters. Hot water is heated in the pipe leading to the fixture, eliminating the need for a water tank.

The time it takes to heat water with these two is highly different. It can take a storage water heater from 30 minutes to an hour and a half to bring water to the desired temperature.

Most tankless water heaters can provide instantaneous hot water. When there is a high demand for hot water, the flow rate (in gallons per minute) will decrease, but the water will still be steaming hot.

5. Water’s Initial Temperature

How long it takes a unit to heat water depends significantly on the temperature of the water, to begin with. If the inlet water temperature is low, the water heater must work more to heat the water to the desired temperature. 

The inflow water temperature is around 40 degrees Fahrenheit in northern latitudes. It’s about 50 degrees in the tropics. The water temperature goes from about 40-50 degrees to nearly 140 degrees, taking time in the water heater.

6. The Size of Your Water Heater

There is a direct correlation between the size (in terms of gallon capacity) of a storage water heater and its ability to heat water rapidly. The typical capacity of a storage water heater is between 30 and 80 gallons. 

How long does it take for a 50-gallon water heater to heat up?

Because there are fewer gallons to heat, water in smaller tanks is ready to use sooner. It is analogous to boiling water in a two-quart saucepan instead of a twelve-quart stock pot.

Rapidly bring the water in the pot to a boil. Heating a large tank takes less time than you may assLargerarger electric models typically contain two heating to speed up the procedures.

Gas water heaters with a high capacity feature a more powerful burner to expedite the heating process. Water heaters with smaller capacities (such as 30 gallons) take less time to heat up than larger ones (50 or 80 gallons).

7. Power Source

The time it takes to heat water depends on the water heater’s power source (gas or electricity). It is common knowledge that electric water heaters take more time to heat the water. Electric heating elements could be more efficient compared to gas burners.

The FHD rate of a typical 50-gallon gas water heater is between 80 and 90 GPH, while the FHD rate of a 50-gallon electric water heater is between 58 and 66 GPH.

Electric water heaters can take up to twice as long as the average gas water heater, which can heat the entire tank in roughly 30 minutes. 

What Factors Affect A Water Heater’s Heating Rate?

Water heating time depends on several variables. Knowing these factors, you can determine why some water heaters heat up quicker than others.

1. Water Heater Dimensions

There is a wide range of water heater sizes. Hot water capacity increases with tank size. The typical capacity of a gas water heater is between 182 and 227 liters or 40 to 50 gallons: water heaters’ recovery times and first-hour ratings are affected by the heater tank’s capacity tank.

When the tank is complete, the first-hour rating shows how many gallons of hot water the gadget can produce in that time frame. The recovery time indicates how quickly the system can refill itself, usually within an hour. 

How long it takes to return to normal depends on the tank size and heating system. Incoming temperature can also play a role in how quickly you bounce back.

2. Maintenance Issues

Sediment buildup and limescale accumulation on the heating elements are two consequences of neglecting to clean the water tank periodically. 

Dissolved minerals are also a possibility. Mineral deposits and silt buildup can reduce the efficiency of the heating system.

Households with hard water have a more challenging time keeping sediment at bay since the water contains more calcium, iron, and other heavy metals. 

Rust and limescale, which can form when these molecules react, threaten the efficiency of your pipes and water heater. A rugged water heater is, thus, a highly recommended appliance.

3. Temperature Rise

The temperature difference between incoming and outgoing sea water causes the temperature to rise.  If you reside in a chilly climate, expect groundwater temperatures around 60 °F (16 °C). The rains in many parts of the world can be rather cold.

The water temperature is about 80 °F (27 °C) compared to the air temperature. Most people find temperatures between 100 and 105 degrees Fahrenheit (37 and 40 degrees Celsius) provide the most pleasant shower experience. 

Heat-up time increases with decreasing incoming water temperature.

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

4. Fuel Type

Gas water heaters are noticeably more efficient than their electric counterparts in heating water. It is common knowledge that electricity and fire produce heat in distinctive ways. Fire is a chemical reaction that reflects the combination of heat, fuel, and oxygen. 

Combustion is the release of heat energy from the rupturing of chemical bonds.

How long does it take for a 50-gallon water heater to heat up?

Therefore, gas heating is more potent than electric heating. On the other hand, the flow of electrons via a conductor is the sole essence of electricity. This friction and heat result from electrons colliding with other electrons or atomic particles.

Some homes have installed solar heaters to ensure continuous heat production during a power outage. Solar water heating is more cost-effective than other methods, but getting the water to the desired temperature takes longer.

The Bottom Line

It will take some time for a 50-gallon water heater tank to supply hot water. Based on these variables, estimate how long it will take to heat the entire unit. 

If you live in a place with extreme climate conditions, consider these options carefully before purchasing. If you have a 50-gallon water heater, please share your experience.

Frequently Asked Question

1. What is The Average Lifespan of a Water Heater?

Manufacturers typically make the internal components of a task-based model with durability in mind. Only the storage unit and the plumbing system require attention. 

The entire device has a 5-year lifespan without maintenance if hard water is a problem in your area. If you do, it should survive anywhere from 13 to 20 years, even longer, depending on the water quality and how well you take care of it.