Are you tired of waiting for your hot water system to heat up? Understanding how long it takes for a hot water system to heat up is essential for planning your daily activities efficiently. Various factors can influence the heating times, and knowing these details allows you to make informed decisions and avoid unnecessary delays.

It’s crucial to consider factors like the type and size of your hot water system, the initial temperature of water, the water capacity, and even the ambient temperature. Each of these elements plays a significant role in determining the time it takes for your hot water system to reach the desired temperature.

To get accurate information specific to your hot water system, it’s best to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or seek advice from experts in the field. Their expertise ensures that you receive precise recommendations tailored to your particular system, contributing to a more efficient and satisfactory experience.

Factors Affecting Heating Time

Water Heater Types

There are different types of water heaters available, including tankless, electric, or gas-powered systems. The type of water heater you have can significantly affect the heating time.

Tankless water heaters, for example, heat water on demand, which means they have a quicker heating time compared to traditional tank-based systems. Electric and gas-powered water heaters also have variations in heating time, with gas-powered heaters often heating water more quickly.

Water Temperature Settings

The temperature setting you choose on your water heater can also impact the time it takes for the water to heat up. Higher requested temperature settings may take longer to reach and maintain, as the heater needs to work harder to reach those higher temperatures.

It’s important to find a balance between your desired water temperature and the heating time required to achieve it.

According to a recent study on “The cost burden of hospital-treated tap water scald burns in the United States”, burns from hot water accounted for at least 60,000 injuries and over 100 deaths in the U.S. between 2016 and 2018. The study recommended the use of thermostatic mixing valves, which can be installed in hot water heaters or taps to help reduce water scald burns.

Tank Capacity

Water heaters come in various sizes, and bigger tanks can hold more hot water. Larger tanks generally take longer to heat up compared to smaller tanks, as there is more water to heat. Common electric water heater capacities are between 160 to 250 litres. The tank’s size impacts two key factors: the first-hour rating and the recovery time.

The first-hour rating tells you how much hot water the heater can produce in one hour when the tank is full. On the other hand, recovery time is the duration the heater takes to supply warm water again after the tank has been emptied. Both these factors are influenced by the efficiency of the heater and the size of the tank. The temperature of the incoming water can also affect the recovery time.

Energy Source

The energy source used by your water heater can also impact the heating time. Different energy sources, such as electricity, natural gas, propane, or solar, have varying influences on heating speed and efficiency.

Electric water heaters may take longer to heat up compared to gas-powered ones, depending on the specific model and settings. Additionally, solar-powered water heaters rely on the availability of sunlight to heat the water, which can also affect heating time.

Initial Water Temperature

The starting temperature of the cold water entering your hot water system can also affect heating time. The colder the water, the longer it will take to heat up.

Keep in mind that the initial water temperature can vary based on your location and climate. Those in colder regions may experience colder water temperatures and potentially longer heating times.

Efficiency of the System

The efficiency rating of your hot water system plays a role in heating time. Higher-efficiency systems generally heat water faster and more efficiently, resulting in shorter heating times.

When choosing a hot water system, consider its efficiency rating to ensure optimal heating performance.


The level of insulation in your hot water tank or system can impact heat retention and heating time. Well-insulated systems can retain heat better, allowing for faster heating times.

Proper insulation reduces heat loss and ensures that the heated water stays hot for longer periods, providing you with quicker hot water access when needed.

Water Demand

The amount of hot water being used simultaneously can also affect heating time. If multiple faucets or appliances are drawing hot water at the same time, the system may take longer to heat up and meet the demand.

Consider the water demand in your household when estimating the heating time required for your hot water system to meet your needs efficiently.

Types of Water Heaters and Their Heat-Up Times

Electric Water Heaters

Electric water heaters generally take longer to heat up compared to their gas counterparts. On average, you should expect a wait time of about 1 hour for the tank to heat completely. This is due to the slower heat production by electron agitation and the position of the heating element on the tank’s side.

Gas Water Heaters

For comparison, gas water heaters usually take about 30 minutes to heat up. The heat produced by combustion is faster and more efficient.

Solar Water Heaters

Solar water heaters are an eco-friendly option but are dependent on the availability of sunlight. In sunny regions, which includes most of Australia, they can be quite efficient. However, when cloudy days are present for an extended period you may run into an issues such as only being able to have warm water.

Tankless Water Heaters

Tankless models heat water on demand and can supply hot water in just a minute or so. However, they may struggle if multiple outlets require hot water simultaneously.

Expert Tips for Maximising Your Electric Hot Water Heater’s Efficiency

Getting the most out of your electric hot water heater involves more than just turning it on and hoping for the best. Mitchell Hook, a licensed plumber at North East Plumbing who can professionally install a hot water system for you, shares some invaluable tips for optimising your system’s performance:

Set a Consistent Temperature

One of the simplest yet most effective ways to improve your water heater’s efficiency is to set the temperature to your desired level and stick with it. Frequent adjustments can cause the heater to work harder, consuming more energy and reducing its lifespan.

Insulate to Conserve Heat

Heat loss is a common issue with water heaters and their pipes. Insulating your water heater and the pipes can significantly reduce heat loss, making your system more efficient. This not only saves energy but also ensures that hot water reaches you faster.

Be Mindful of Water Usage

Taking shorter showers is an excellent way to conserve hot water. The less hot water you use, the less your water heater has to work to replenish it, ultimately extending the system’s life.

By implementing these tips from Mitchell, you can significantly improve the efficiency and longevity of your electric hot water heater.