You use hot water every single day in your home. That’s great, until the hot water starts turning lukewarm and then cold.
If your water heater isn’t producing enough hot water for you, it can ruin your shower and make it difficult to clean dishes and laundry.
To figure out why you aren’t getting enough hot water, let’s go over the 5 most common reasons and how you can fix them.
Sediment or Rust
Over time, especially if you have hard water, minerals in the water can gather at the bottom of the water heater near the burner. This sediment can prevent heat from the burner from reaching the water, compromising energy efficiency and your access to hot water.
A water softening system can help slow this process down, but you can probably eliminate this problem by draining your tank once a year. Schedule professional water heater maintenance and your technician will drain the water heater for you.
If there is rust, you may need to replace your water heater. Don’t wait for the tank to burst. Contact a qualified professional if you notice rust around your unit and start looking for replacements.
There is a thermostat inside your water heater that tells it when to turn on and heat more water. If it has malfunctioned, it is probably telling the water heater not to turn on because it thinks that the water is hot enough. If this is the case, you may need to replace the thermostat.
If your water heater thermostat is working, raising the thermostat temperature can help get the water hotter, but don’t go above 140 degrees. This could create scalding water. Some thermostats don’t have degrees, but rather “warm,” “hot,” and “very hot” settings. For an accurate temperature reading, use a thermometer to measure the temperature of the water coming out of your hot water tap.
One possible solution is installing a thermostatic mixing valve, otherwise known as a tempering valve or anti-scald valve. This mixes cold water with hot water as it comes out of your tank, allowing you to raise the water heater temperature and get more hot water without the risk of scalding.
Wrong-Sized Water Heater
Another reason for insufficient hot water is that your water heater might not be big enough for your home. If you’ve just moved into a new home, or if you installed a new water heater yourself, this could be the case. Consult a professional contractor to help you correctly size a new water heater and install it for you.
If you want never-ending hot water, consider a tankless water heater, also known as instantaneous or on-demand water heaters. Instead of storing hot water in a tank, tankless units heat water directly as it moves through the unit. This not only saves space, but energy as well. According to the U.S. Energy Department, “demand water heaters can be 24%–34% more energy efficient than conventional storage tank water heaters.”
Traditional tank water heaters last around 10 years whereas tankless water heater last around 15-20 years. If you are considering a new water heater, speak with the professional at Service Champions.
The Dip Tube
To supply your water heater tank with new water, a plastic tube is installed inside the tank that runs all the way to the bottom. This keeps the cold water from mixing with the hot water.
If the dip tube breaks, cracks or falls off, it could cause cold water to mix with the heated water at the top of the tank. Instead of hot water, you could be receiving tepid water instead. Contact a professional if you suspect a defective dip tube.
Too Much Demand at One Time
If you are running the dishwasher, washing machine, and shower at the same time, even a large tank will struggle to provide all the hot water you are demanding. Try to run the dishwasher and washing machine at times when people won’t be taking hot showers or baths.
Flow rates could also present a problem. By installing low-flow faucets and showerheads, you can reduce the gpm (gallons per minute), thus increasing the amount of hot water you get for each hot water tap. Aim for 2.5 gpm or less.
If your Northern California home still isn’t receiving enough hot water, you may have an issue with your burner or some other part. Contact the trusted water heater experts at Service Champions to bring the heat.