Between showers, washing dishes, and laundry, a typical household can use from 80 up to 120 gallons of hot water each day. This is where water heaters come in. Water heaters are one of the best investments you’ll ever make. When choosing a water heater, your main concern is to look at features, such as size, type, and weight. In fact, one of the most common questions we hear is: are water heaters heavy?
The quick answer to that question is yes, they are quite heavy. However, their weight varies depending on the size and type of heater. You also have to take into account the tank capacity when it’s empty as well as when it’s full of water.
In this article, we’ll talk about the different types of water heaters and their weights. Plus, we’ll give you some pointers on how you can safely transport a heater without any risk of injuries.
Are Water Heaters Heavy
To fully answer this question, let’s start by talking about the two main types of water heaters in detail, namely storage tank heaters and tankless heaters.
Storage Tank Water Heater
A storage tank water heater goes by many names, yet they all consist of a cylinder with a tank inside it. It’s used for heating and storing water. They’re available in a variety of sizes, with the smallest being about 20 gallons. The largest tanks can reach up to 80 gallons or more.
How Do They Work
Tank-based water heaters are always heating water for when it’s needed. There are three main fuel sources for heating water: electricity, liquid propane, and natural gas.
Depending on your heater model, the fuel type can determine the weight and efficiency. They all function pretty much the same way.
To get hot water, you turn on a hot-water faucet or appliance. What happens next is the heater releases hot water from the top of the tank into the pipes. The pipes, then, deliver the hot water to where it needs to go.
To replace the water that flowed out, cold water flows back into the bottom of the tank. A built-in valve makes sure the water stops once the tank is filled to its maximum capacity once again.
Even when you’re not using any hot water, the water in the tank is continuously being heated. The thermostat triggers the heating system to stop at a setpoint temperature.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends turning the thermostat to 120 degrees. This prevents overheating, reduces power consumption, and extends the life of the unit.
How Much Do They Weigh
Storage tank water heaters are quite heavy. Even those with the smallest capacities can weigh as much as several hundred pounds.
To calculate the average weight of any tank water heater, multiply the capacity by 3 pounds. This should give you the weight of the heater when it’s empty.
Then, to find out the weight of the heater when it’s full of water, multiply the capacity by 8 (1 gallon = 8.3 pounds). Finally, just add the two numbers together and you get the total weight of the heater.
Take a look at the various tank water heaters and their average weights.
- 20-gallon tank: 60 pounds (empty); 220 pounds (full)
- 30-gallon tank: 90 pounds (empty); 330 (full)
- 40-gallon tank = 120 pounds (empty); 440 (full)
- 50-gallon tank = 150 pounds (empty); 550 (full)
- 80-gallon tank = 240 pounds (empty); 880 pounds (full)
Tankless Water Heater
Tankless water heaters are sometimes called on-demand water heaters. They provide hot water only when you need it.
How Do They Work?
The great thing about tankless water heaters is that you never run out of hot water. They provide instant hot water via an internal heating system.
So, when you turn on the faucet or shower, the cold water passes through the pipes into the water heater. Once inside, an electric or gas heating unit warms up the water, depending on the model. Finally, it flows out and you get satisfying hot water.
The fact that there’s no storage tank makes them more energy-efficient than tank water heaters. It’s also why they’re more compact and better suited for areas with limited space as in small homes or apartments.
Their main downside is their high costs. Generally, tankless water heaters can cost up to three times as much as tank water heaters.
How Much Do They Weigh
Tankless water heaters are generally lighter than other types of heaters. Some weigh less than 10 pounds, whereas others can be as heavy as 80 pounds.
The most common household tankless heaters weigh about 25 pounds. They don’t take up a lot of space and can be easily mounted on the wall.
What’s the Best Way to Transport a Water Heater
As you’ve seen, even the lightest water heaters can be quite heavy. So, moving them from one spot to another will need some kind of moving equipment.
Dollies are excellent equipment for the task. Relying on a dolly to carry your heater is practical and a great time-saver. Plus, it’ll prevent you from injuring your back.
Check out these step-by-step guidelines to help you safely move your heater.
- Disconnect power, gas, and water supplies.
- Empty the tank via a hose connected to the heater’s drain.
- Measure doorways and stairways before you begin moving anything.
- Clear the path where you’ll be moving to prevent damaging anything en route.
So, are water heaters heavy? Yes, they are!
Out of the two main types of water heaters, storage tanks can get pretty heavy, even when empty. Tankless water heaters, on the other hand, are lighter in comparison. Yet, you’ll still help if you plan on moving them yourself.
Whether you’re buying a brand-new heater or moving your old one, knowing how much your water heater weighs is vital. You’ll be able to plan ahead, thus reducing the risk of injury or damages. It can also save time and energy while providing your home with a fully functioning water heater.