3 Reasons Why You Never Have Enough Hot Water

Tired of cold showers and luke-warm water in your kitchen?

We know the struggle. And we also know a few reasons why this could be happening to you.

If you’re not getting enough hot water in your home, it could be because…

  • Your water heater is the wrong size
  • Your burner is having trouble
  • You have sediment build-up in the tank

Let’s go into more detail about each of these reasons and how you can fix them.

Problem 1: Your water heater is the wrong size

If you’re not getting enough hot water, it could mean that your water heater is too small for your heating needs.

To get more hot water in your home, try these steps:

  • Don’t run so many hot water appliances at the same time. Are you running your dishwasher, washing machine and shower at the same time? This limits the actual amount of hot water you’ll receive at each appliance. If you find you are, stop using all of the appliances at the same time.
  • Set your water heater to 120-140 degrees. If your water heater’s temperature is set below 120 degrees, you can turn it up to 120-140 degrees.
  • Take an inventory of your hot water usage. 75% of a water heater’s total capacity should be dedicated to hot water. This means that a 40 gallon water heater should be used for a hot water demand of 30 gallons. If you see that your average hot water usage exceeds 75% of your water heater’s total capacity, it may be time to get a bigger water heater.
  • Check the flow rates of your faucets and shower heads. Flow rates measure the amount of flowing water in gpm (gallons per minute). Many faucets and shower heads before 1992 had 5.5 gpm or higher, which wastes a lot of hot water. These should be replaced with faucets or shower heads with a flow rate of 2.5 gpm or less.

Image courtesy of www.energy.gov

If you try these steps and you’re still not getting more hot water, it could mean you’ll need a bigger water heater. Learn more about water heater sizes in our article What Size Water Heater Tank Do I Need for My Home?

Problem 2: Your burner is having trouble

A problem with your gas burner also limits the amount of hot water you get in your home. The burner may be getting too much gas, not enough gas or condensation may be dripping onto the burner—all of which decrease your heater’s hot water output.

Check your water heater’s burner

Look at your burner’s flame. A natural gas flame should be bright blue, and the tip of the flame should have a tinge of yellow.

If your flame is not the proper color, it means that your burner has inefficient combustion, which affects the normal operation of your water heater. Contact a certified water heater expert if you think there’s a problem with your water heater’s burner.

Problem 3: You have sediment build-up in tank

Sediment is sand, silt, rust or other small particles that come from minerals and deposits naturally in our water supply. These loose minerals can settle to the bottom of the water heater tank.

Sediment causes you to quickly run out of hot water for 2 reasons:

  • Takes up space in the tank, leaving less room for hot water
  • Insulates the water in the tank from the heating source at the bottom of the tank. Imagine trying to boil a tea kettle on your stove placed on top of bricks. The burner will need to heat the bricks first before the heat can transfer to the tea kettle.

How to fix it

Get the water heater drained and flushed to get rid of all the sediment. You can either DIY or have a professional do it.

Want more hot water in your home?

Contact Mr. Plumber with your questions.

We’ve been repairing hot water heaters in the greater Atlanta metro area since 1966.

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