After a long work day, most people enjoy a nice hot shower. However, that relaxing shower can quickly become frustrating if your water doesn't stay hot. There are several reasons why your shower might run out of hot water. In this article, we’ll discuss the following problems:
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Did you know the average person spends about eight minutes in the shower? While this may not seem like a long time, every second can impact your water heater. When you turn on the shower, your water heater will warm the water up before sending it to your faucet. The longer you spend under the faucet, the more work your water heater must do. Over time, this can negatively affect its ability to provide hot water and even diminish your water supply.
If you notice your house runs out of hot water quickly, consider taking shorter showers (especially if you have multiple household members). Here are some tips on how to have water last longer:
If your water heater runs out of hot water quickly – and you’re not taking extremely long showers – check the size of your water heater to ensure it’s not too small. Here’s a quick guideline for picking between water heater tank sizes:
Keep in mind that these are just general suggestions. Other factors also influence your water heater needs, such as the average length of your showers or the daily number of showers each person takes.
Sometimes, you can fix a depleted hot water supply by adjusting the length of your showers or your water heater size. Other times, the problem is due to the water heater itself. Here are some common issues connected to water heaters and how to recognize them.
A broken dip tube may be the culprit if your shower quickly runs out of hot water. The dip tube is a long, plastic tube that stretches from the cold water inlet to the bottom of the water heater. It directs cold water to the heater, where it’s warmed up before being distributed throughout the home.
When a dip tube breaks, cold water doesn’t remain in the bottom of the tank – instead, it mixes with hot water, causing longer water heater recovery times. Potential causes of a broken dip tube include:
An easy way to diagnose a broken dip tube is by looking for small plastic flecks in your water supply.
You might have noticed a thermostat displaying the water temperature on your electric water heater. This thermostat controls two essential parts: an upper and lower heating element. Together, these parts warm up the cold water that enters the tank through the dip tube. When the thermostat or heating element is faulty, it will usually result in one of the following problems:
Discoloration or cloudy water is a key sign that your heating element isn’t working. You may also experience leaks. People who have recently had a power surge may be able to fix the heating element by resetting their fuse box. If this doesn’t resolve the issue, the next step is to contact a professional plumber.
Did you know the water from your shower or sink contains dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium? While these minerals don’t threaten your health, they can be a driving factor behind why your shower doesn’t get hot.
As water circulates in your tank, these minerals sink to the bottom. Over time, they can accumulate inside your tank, eventually blocking the heating element from doing its job. If you have sediment buildup, you’ll experience a gradual depletion of hot water. You may also notice the following signs:
The good news is that a plumber can resolve sediment buildup through a simple procedure called flushing. Every year, you should have a plumber “flush” your tank to eliminate any sediment and debris that may be lingering.