Why Does My Water Heater Run Out of Hot Water So Fast?

Why Does My Water Heater Run Out of Hot Water So Fast?

How well does the water heater keep up with the demand for hot water in your home?

Everyone knows the experience of a steamy hot shower suddenly going cold, or having to wait to wash a load of clothes on the “Hot” setting because the water’s not even warm. When demand exceeds supply, the result is usually discomfort and annoyance in the household.

Here are some reasons why your water heater isn’t able to keep up:

It’s too small.

Conventional storage tank water heaters have a finite capacity in gallons. When it’s out of hot water, you’ll have to wait. Heater capacity must be calculated based on number of occupants and water-consuming appliances in the house. For two or three people, for example, a heater with 40 to 50 gallon capacity is typical. Demand changes over time, however, and if you’ve added more people or bigger appliances, you may need to upgrade to a larger water heater or add another unit.

Temperature setting is too low.

For scalding safety—especially if there are children or elderly in the home—the water heater thermostat setting should be no higher than 120 degrees. However, during winter in cold climates, water entering your home from municipal pipes may be excessively cold. The standard 120 degree setting may not heat water fast enough to meet demand. Try increasing the setting no more than 10 degrees to see if water heats faster so you don’t run out. Be sure to test the water at faucets distant from the heater to make sure the temperature increase doesn’t pose a scalding hazard.

Mineral accumulation.

Sediment from minerals normally present in the water supply (usually calcium carbonate) settles at the bottom of the heater’s tank. As this layer accumulates over time, it decreases the tank’s total gallon capacity. It also inhibits heat from the burner so water in the tank heats back up much more slowly after it runs out. To eliminate mineral accumulation, the tank should be flushed twice a year.

For more solutions to annoying water heater issues, contact the plumbing experts at Aggressive Mechanical.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Monmouth County, New Jersey and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  

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