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9 Potential Reasons for Why You’re Running Out of Hot Water

You probably know that awful feeling when you’re enjoying a nice, long shower and suddenly, you run out of hot water.

This is a common problem that plagues people much more frequently than you might think, and there can be several causes for this annoyance to occur.

Read on to discover nine potential reasons why you’re running out of hot water so you can decide what to do to fix them.

1. There’s Sediment in Your Water Heater

As water flows through your water heater, natural minerals and sediment gather inside. Over time, that grime and sediment can build up in the bottom of the tank since it’s heavier than water and tends to sink to the bottom.

This sediment buildup can limit the amount of available water in your tank, resulting in your showers running colder, faster. Flush your water heater by emptying the tank completely and cleaning it out. Fill it with fresh water for a clear water heater that should provide you with longer-lasting warmth when you shower.

If you’re not comfortable flushing your water heater, call a professional plumbing company that can help. In addition, powered anode rod like Corro-Protec can reduce limescale accumulation inside your water heater.

2. The Water Heater is Too Small

If you have a large family or enjoy running appliances frequently, you could easily run out of hot water if the heater is too small. Most water heaters can handle enough water to meet high demands, but that isn’t always the case.

On average, one to two people need at least a 30-gallon water heater, while families of up to three people should have a 40-gallon water heater in the home. For larger families of four, 40 to 50 gallons is best and families over five should have at least a 50 tp 80-gallon water heater.

Check your water heater’s capacity to see if it can handle your hot shower demands. If it’s too small, it might be time to switch it out with a bigger one so that you will never run out of hot water again.

3. Thermostat Problems

Similar to your home’s HVAC system, your water heater uses a thermostat so you can control the water temperature. If the hot water is disappearing faster than it should, reset the thermostat and see if that remedies the problem. If it doesn’t, you can also try to raise the temperature on your thermostat.

After a reset and you’ve turned the temperature up, try to run the hot water and see how long it lasts. If neither of these quick remedies works, it could be time to call in the professionals. 

Sometimes water heater thermostat issues are just a matter of needing a new one. In other cases, however, there could be a problem with the unit itself which is why a professional may be needed.

4. There’s No Hot Water Because Your Water Heater is Too Old

Everything in your home has a lifespan, from the roof to appliances and the home’s heating and cooling system. The same rings true for your water heater and if it’s extremely old, it may explain why suddenly your hot water is running out much faster than it used to.

Most water heaters last for approximately 10 to 12 years at most and if yours is older than a decade, it could be time to replace it. When the water heater has reached the end of its life, it probably can’t produce the same volume of hot water that it once could.

If your water heater is not that old, you may want to look around for any possible leaks. If you find a leak, you’ll likely need to replace the water heater anyway. If you’re not ready to invest in a new one, consider asking a plumber to give it a closer look and find out what else could be causing the issue.

5. The Lower Element on Your Water Heater is Bad

Electric water heaters have an upper and lower element, and the lower element is the one responsible for doing most of the heating. Whenever you turn on the hot water, cold water is pushed to the bottom of your tank and is heated by the lower element. As it rises to the top, the upper element periodically keeps that water at a decent temperature.

If the lower element on your water heater has gone bad, it can no longer do its job to keep your water nice and hot. When this happens, you’ll definitely notice a dip in water temperature and colder baths and showers.

The lower element could be bad due to sediment buildup that has caused it to overheat, or it could be that the thermostat controlling the element is no longer working. There may also be a short somewhere in the wiring causing it to stop working. A plumber can determine if the element is bad and replace it if needed.

6. Your Hot Water Usage is Too High

To put it simply, you could just be using too much hot water too often all at once, which can cause it to “run out” a lot quicker than you’d think. Between loads of laundry and dishes and several people in a household, your water heater could struggle to keep up with the demand.

If everyone is bathing or showering at the same time, you could end up with cold water which can be extremely frustrating. Try to limit your water use at the same time and try to only take a shower when the appliances are not running.

Using hot water for several things at once can make it difficult for the tank of your water heater to keep up. Even if you’re just doing some dishes in the sink, it might be too much for the water heater to supply the kitchen sink and the upstairs shower with hot water at the same time, so be mindful of how much you’re using all at once.

7. Improper Insulation 

Depending on where you live, you might need additional insulation for your pipes when the cold of winter strikes. As the temperatures drop, your plumbing needs to stay insulated to ensure that you’re getting the hot water you need.

You may also need to insulate the water heater itself to ensure that it’s able to maintain the temperature as the water flows out. Frigid parts of the country can experience serious problems during winter like frozen, burst pipes or a lack of hot water.

Check your plumbing and water heater and add some insulation if you think that what you currently have is insufficient. This simple step might be all you need during the wintertime when it’s especially important to be able to enjoy a nice, hot bath or shower.

8. Water Heater Wear and Tear

Certain components of your water heater can wear out over time, which can cause you to lose the availability of hot water pretty quickly. One common issue is with something called the “dip tube” which is a part immersed in water that runs the cold water to the bottom of the tank. This tube is located near the heating element and if it gets damaged, it will end up mixing the hot and cold water together, resulting in a lukewarm feeling.

When there’s mold near the water heater, it could be because there is a small leak somewhere. Any sign of wear, damage, or strange smells should be cause for you to call a professional plumber who can come and take a closer look.

Don’t Suffer From Cold Water Any Longer

Whether you enjoy a nice, long bath or an evening shower, it’s important to have hot water whenever you need it. Study these suggestions to determine if your lack of hot water could be caused by anything mentioned above.

When in doubt, contact a professional plumbing company that can take a closer look at your water heater, plumbing, and other important components that are made to keep the hot water flowing. Once you identify the issue, you can enjoy that nice long shower once again.

To keep your water heater running efficiently, visit our website to find out more about our line of products and to shop for the perfect water heater anode for your needs.

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