The first-hour rating (FHR) is a measure of how much water a traditional water tank is capable of producing through one hour of continuous use. This measure relates to the tank’s capacity and the tank’s recovery rate. For example, if you have a 50-gallon water tank on a gas water heater, you should expect to have a first-hour rating of 70 to 80 gallons. Those with a 50-gallon tank on an electric heater may have a first-hour rating of 60 gallons.

Why is a Water Heater’s First-Hour Rating Important

The first-hour rating of a water tank can tell you if the tank is working as expected. This FHR also helps you determine if your current water tank, or maybe a water tank you are considering purchasing, can keep up with the daily water demand of your household. Different sized water tanks, as well as tanks heated by different energy sources, all have different first-hour ratings.

To determine if your water tank can keep up with your family’s demands, you should calculate your hot water usage during your household’s peak hours. The peak hour or hours would be the time throughout the day when your family uses the most water. Taking a shower or bath typically uses 20 gallons of water per one shower/bath, and running the dishwasher uses around 14 gallons per cycle. If you wash your clothes using hot or warm water, running one load through the washer will use around 32 gallons.

Consider the various activities at home that require hot water during peak hours – showers, laundry, dishwashing, and more. Total the gallons used during these times and compare it against your water heater’s First-Hour Rating (FHR). If your household demand exceeds the FHR, it could indicate that your current heater struggles to meet your hot water needs during peak usage periods. Upgrading to a water heater with a higher FHR ensures a more consistent and adequate supply of hot water, especially during high-demand periods.

What to Do if It’s Time to Purchase a New Water Heater

If your current water heater can’t keep up with the household demand, it’s time to purchase a larger capacity tank with a higher FHR. At ProMax Water Heaters & Plumbing we service Bellevue, Washington and the surrounding area. Our company offers a variety of plumbing services, including plumbing installations and water heater repair and installation. Contact ProMax Water Heaters & Plumbing for more information.

Meet Evan Niemela: Owner of ProMax Water Heaters & Plumbing

Evan first started plumbing in 2006, splitting his time 50/50 with commercial and residential work. He has been involved with all aspects of plumbing, and believes that we should be life-long learners, whether with our careers or in life.

When he’s not plumbing, you’ll find Evan looking for a little white golf ball (generally in the woods or long grass), exploring the mountains and trails in the beautiful PNW or spending time with his wife and seven children.

Evan Niemela Owner of ProMax Water Heaters & Plumbing