Here at Corporate Mechanical of New England, we recently began our new plumbing capabilities, and already one of the most common questions we’re getting is, “Why am I running out of hot water?” Running out of hot water is always a nuisance, but frustration can certainly increase when you’re in the coldest months of the year, and suddenly your hard-earned hot shower turns ice cold too soon. To figure out why you’re not getting enough hot water, let’s go over a few of the most common possibilities.
Just like in your house, there is a thermostat inside your water heater that tells it when to turn on and heat more water. If it has malfunctioned, it may be telling your heater that the water is hot enough, leading to a shortage in its hot water supply. If this is why, then it may need to be replaced.
If the thermostat is working, you can adjust the temperature to allow for hotter water, but make sure you don’t increase the temperature too much. Experts recommend not going above 120 degrees Fahrenheit (49 Celsius) to avoid serious injury and scalding. If you turn up the thermostat and the water temperature doesn’t increase, it is likely faulty. Call a professional to replace it.
The water that enters your water heater is rarely 100 percent pure, and can contain minerals and debris. Over time, these can build up at the bottom of the vessel where the burner is located. If there is too much buildup, it can prevent the burner from properly heating the water. If this is the cause, we recommend having your water heater drained and a water softener added to remove the debris and minerals.
The dip tube is a plastic tube that attaches to your water heater’s cold water inlet and extends down to the bottom of the tank. When cold water enters your water heater’s tank, it travels down the dip tube and is delivered directly to the bottom near the burners to be heated. If the tube is cracked, damaged, or dislocated, it could lead to the cold and hot water combining, leaving you with lukewarm water. If you suspect a damaged tube, this could be the case, call a professional to replace it for you.
Too Much Demand
If extensive hot water is being used for the washing machine, dishwasher, and showers at the same time, your hot water is going to quickly run out. Consider running these devices at separate times to allow your heater to replenish the hot water supply.
One possible reason could be that the faucet and shower head flow rates are too high. Consider using low-flow faucets and showerheads (around 2.5 gallons per minute). These replacements will slow the rate of hot water flowing and give your heater more time to heat freshwater.
Another possible reason you’re running out of hot water too quickly is that you don’t have the right size or type of water heater. Depending on your hot water usage, you may want to consider whether you need a tank or tankless system. Both systems have their pros and cons, and it all comes down to your individual or family’s needs.
Determining the source of your hot water issue can be a daunting task, but don’t worry! At Corporate Mechanical of New England, we have an all-star team with 30 years of experience and knowledge in the plumbing industry that are ready to assist you and alleviate any stress from the process. Feel free to contact us today!