If it seems like you’re always running out of hot water lately, ask yourself: “Did the change happen slowly or quickly?” If you’ve experienced a gradual decline in performance, that’s most likely a build-up of sediment in your water heater tank. If performance has dropped off a cliff, then it might be a broken dip tube. Learn more about why you’re running out of hot water, and a few suggestions from Mr. Plumber that might help!
Gradual Decline: Sediment Build-Up
Sediment is generally made up of minerals and deposits that are naturally in your water supply. These deposits could include sand, silt, and rust. Sediment build up causes you to run out of hot water for two reasons:
- Sediment displaces water and takes up space in the tank, leaving less room for hot water to be heated and stored
- Sediment acts as an insulator, forming a barrier between the heating source and water; reducing efficiency and performance
If you suspect a sediment build-up, contact a professional to inspect, drain and flush your water heater. There are plenty of DIY tutorials out there, but this is one that’s best left to the pros. Check out our FAQ on flushing your water heater.
Immediate Decline: Broken Dip Tube
A broken dip tube generally manifests in an immediate loss of hot water. The dip tube is where the cold water supply enters the tank to be heated. If it’s broken, cold water fills the top of the heater and begins to flow through the hot side, so the water never gets the chance to heat. You can see where the dip tube is located in this diagram. One telltale sign of a broken dip tube is to look for are small bits of plastic in the shower head. These particles will clog strainers and appliance filter screens. If you see this, it’s time to call a professional.
What Should I Do?
Repairing a busted water heater may not be worth the cost if the unit is more than 10 years old, which is the typical lifespan of a tank water heater. (Source: National Association of Home Builders.) If you’re in the market for a new tankless or traditional water heater, make sure you check out our buyer’s guide. Contact the experts at Mr. Plumber for all your water heater needs in the Atlanta area! In-home estimates are free and we can usually get your new water heater installed in just one visit.
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Mr. Plumber has been serving the Atlanta metro area for decades. If you need water heater, plumbing, drain, or sewage services, turn to the experts at Mr. Plumber. When you invite one of our licensed plumbers into your home, you can expect quality workmanship and satisfaction guaranteed. Contact Mr. Plumber today or schedule an appointment online!