Running out of hot water while taking a shower is quite annoying. However, I have to accept that it is a pretty common issue.
When this happens, I’m pretty sure that your first impulse is to turn up the temperature valve. In fact, you do this just to find out that the problem is still there or the water becomes too hot to take a shower. In some circumstances, you may even consider purchasing a new water heater that can be costly.
Therefore, before you take any drastic measures, just read this article. I promise you that I will investigate the causes as well as some possible solutions to this problem for you.
- Some Possible Solutions
- How to install a tankless water heater
In most cases, water heaters will produce less hot water when they age and probably reach the end of their lifespan. In my experiences, this will eventually happen after about eight years and above of use.
Sometimes, hot water can run out while you are taking a shower just because of some other problems that are easy to identify and repair. In general, it is true that the cases of the problem are the same. However, the way you need to fix it will mainly depend on the type of water heater you are using.
In reality, there are two main types which are electric water heater and gas-powered water heater ( including tanked, tankless and hybrid units). Remember that common problem that occurs in most types of water heaters include:
Overall, a part of your water heater can wear out over time, or some manufacturing faults can completely be the cause of your problem. However, a trained water heater technician can help diagnose your water heater as well as pinpoint the cause of your hot water woes.
Do not worry too much because parts can be replaced easily and once they are reinstalled, it is certain that your water heater will begin to work efficiently again. Components which often wear out and result in lukewarm or cold showers while you are drawing water from a gas-fired or electric heater include:
The thermostat is the gas control valve on an electric or gas water heater. Additionally, it can easily get damaged or broken, leading to temperature regulation problems.
In fact, electric water heaters have heating elements, and these elements can burn out anytime and cause your heater to malfunction.
In details, they are two heating elements in almost every electric water heater. Each of them has a thermostat, and if the thermostats do not function well, then the elements will never heat up.
Also, in most water heater configurations, the lower heating elements, as well as thermostats, are controlled by the same components on the upper section. Specifically, when the upper element or thermostat doesn’t work, you will probably not have any hot water.
In short, just remember that a non- functioning lower element or thermostat is one of the main reasons why you don’t have enough hot water.
Besides, keep in mind that the temperature-pressure relief valve on your water heater keeps very much pressure from building up in the boiler. Therefore, if that relief valve is faulty, then it will interfere with temperatures.
Sediment Build Up
Sediment build up in your water heater will probably reduce the amount of hot water which it can produce. Additionally, hard water can deposit debris and mineral particles inside the tank.
Because these sediments accumulate over time, they will leave behind a thick and crusty coating along the interior walls of the tank sometimes. This coating can completely hamper the transfer of heat from the burner to the water in the tank.
Just remember that deposits can break away then clog pipes, taps and the valve which are used to flush the tank with your water heater.
Capacity or Size of the Water Heater/ Tank
What will happen if you move from a place with a large water heater tank to another place with a smaller one? The answer is you will realize that the hot water runs out much more quickly. The reason is that the smaller tank cannot hold as much water as the amount that you were accustomed to using.
In fact, the most common tank size nowadays is 30 to 40 gallons. To be honest, that is adequate for your whole family of four or five. In case you always use hot water for the dishwasher or your washing machine, then you can never shower with hot water for a long time.
In my experience, with a large commercial water heater, you can take a shower with hot water longer. Furthermore, at the same time, you can also use other appliances such as washing machines as well as dishwashers. However, keep in mind that a larger tank can also result in the higher energy bill, so, just consider buying a larger water heater.
Besides, when it comes to tanked water heaters, if the system is not sized properly, problems of inadequate heating can occur. In details, based on the amount of flow the system can heat to a certain temperature, the capacity of the tank can be measured. That is the reason why using too many appliances at the same time can probably result in colder water running out of your hot shower appliance.
If you want to install a tankless water heater but have problems with that, then don’t. Instead, just install other heating units, this may help you solve your problems.
Leaking Water Heater Tank
Another cause of not having enough hot water is a leaking water heater tank. Specifically, it can indicate that the tank is corroded or a heating element gasket is worn out. In brief, a leaking tank is likely to reduce the efficiency of your water heater, regardless of the cause.
Distance of the Tank from the Bathroom
It is obvious that when the hot water has to travel a long distance before it reaches your shower, it can cool off.
Just imagine when you’re living in a big apartment in a building, and the water heater tank is at the end of the building, and your bathroom is on the other end.
In that case, when you turn on your shower, the hot water will have to travel through the long pipes.
Therefore, the hot water will probably cool before it gets to your bathroom shower head.
Hot Water Heater Dip Tube
The dip tube is a plastic tube that is attached to the cold water section of your water heater tank. Specifically, it delivers cold/ incoming water to the heating elements located at the tank’s bottom.
This tube is to prevent cold water from mixing with the water at the top of the tank that rises when being heated up. If the tube falls into the tank of simply breaks, then the cold water will mix with the hot water. When that happens, the hot water will cool and of course make the water heater less efficient to some extent.
Some Possible Solutions
Some of the problems mentioned above can be solved. Hence, you can take a shower without running out of the hot water anymore. In fact, most of the repairs are quite simple and easy to you. In my opinion, you can completely do them on your own. However, some other procedures are quite more complicated and will require a qualified water heater technician.
Test the Hot Water Heating Elements
Remember that you should check and see if one or both of the elements are functioning. To be honest, all you need are a voltage tester and an element tester or multimeter.
Adjust the Thermostats
Overall, adjusting the thermostat means that you have to remove metal covers on the hot water tank. In fact, this is very important. This way, you can access the insulator that has to be pushed aside or taken apart to expose the elements and thermostats.
Additionally, you may also have to remove a plastic cover to make the adjustments. You can make these adjustments with a screwdriver. It is based on the heat descriptions which may have the actual temperatures in numbers, words ( warm or hot) or letter designations. Just set the temperature to the recommended 120 degrees. It is because anything above can lead to serious injuries as you use the shower.
Check for Properly Grounded Elements
Keep in mind that elements will never work if they are not grounded properly. That is the reason why you have to inspect them to make sure that the grounding connection is in place. In my experiences, replacing any faulty elements or thermostat is not hard at all once you know what you are doing. Besides, don’t forget that you also have to own the right equipment for this.
Check the Simple Things
Remember to check the circuit breaker so that you can make sure it hasn’t tripped and if needed, just reset the thermostat.
Flush the Hot Water Heater Tank
Also, it is essential to drain or flush the water heater tank to remove sediment build up. This way, your heating system can produce enough hot water as well as work efficiently.
You can do this by turning off the gas valve or electric power first (remember to turn off the inlet valve which supplies water to the tank). Then attach a hose to the drain valve on the tank’s bottom. After that, direct the hose to a large bucket or a drain outdoors.
Open the hot water tap or pressure relief valve to let air in. Therefore, the water can drain. Before opening the drain valve, just ensure that the end of the hose is at a lower level compared to the drain valve. This way, the flushed water can flow freely.
Insulate Hot Water Pipes
It is also very necessary for you to insulate your water pipes with foam pipes insulation sleeves. This can help you avoid hot water cooling even if it has to travel a long way from the water heater tank to the shower head.
Install a Tankless Water Heater At Distant Fixtures
Sometimes, a point of use tankless water heater can be the solution to your hot water problems, particularly if faucets, shower heads, and other fixtures are far from the main water heater tank.
Unlike conventional water heaters, a tankless unit can heat water through electric coils or gas burners as water flows through. Turning taps or appliances on or off will switch the heater on or off. Therefore, help you save on power consumption.
Replace Faulty or Damaged Dip Tube
Besides, you will also need to replace the dip tube in case you see broken pieces of plastic in your tap. Specifically, the sounds of something moving in the tank as the water is turned on may be pieces of a dip tube which have broken off.
I believe that all the tips above should be very useful for you to get your water heater working efficiently. Therefore, you can enjoy a hot water shower every single time you go to your bathroom. Just make sure that you turn off all the electric power before undertaking any repairs or troubleshooting. This can help you prevent electric shocks. Furthermore, also make certain that the temperature of the water heater is low to avoid scalding from hot water in the tank or pipes.
How to install a tankless water heater
You know what, you will certainly thank yourself a thousand times over for selecting a tankless water heating. Always remember it is likely that there is a slight delay for the hot water to get your fixtures. Furthermore, be aware that the money that is saved in standby loss can be offset by the high cost of equipment, flue pipe, gas pipe.
In general, a tankless water heater will require the following things:
– Larger diameter gas supply lines
– Higher voltage power supply (if contemplating electric on-demand)
– Larger diameter exhaust system
– Dedicated – special stainless steel flue (known as Category II, III or IV).
Just remember to take those things into consideration before you decide to install the tankless water heater.
I highly recommend you to use special union connector sets for the water supply that employ bypass capability. This allows for simple and easies de- liming maintenance process in the future.
Turn off the main incoming water line to your house.
Disconnect supply line from your old water heater. In fact, even when the main has been shut off, you can still have some water left on the line. Additionally, you need to place a bucket underneath water bib to catch any spills.
Disconnect the heat source from old water heater as follows:
For an electric water heater, just simply unplug the appliance from the wall outlet.
However, for gas, (propane), you need to make sure that the supply valve is closed. For this, the direction of the handle to the valve is commonly the main determination. It sits either in the same direction as the line “open,” or opposite the direction of the line “closed.”
After you completely disconnected the old water heater, you have to remove it from its current parking space. Also, make certain that you dispose of it according to the laws in the area where you are living in.
Next, remove your new tankless water heater from the carton and then place all hardware as well as instructional material close at hand.
Determine the location that is best suited for this appliance. Remember to allow for the proper clearances around it to comply with all state and local building codes.
Mount the tankless heater on the wall according to the instructions of manufacturers. Make sure that you have appropriately supported its weight.
Now, I’m pretty sure that you are ready to hook up all the connections.
If you have gas, then install ventilation ducting. A tankless water heater requires a larger flue or special stainless steel flue.
Start with the supply line or water line.
The next one should be the heat source. If your water heater uses electricity, remember to plug it into the wall.
In case your water heater is gas, then you will have to hook up a gas supply line from the stub at the wall to the new water heater. Also, open the valve, this way, the handle will be in the same direction as the line.
Based on manufacturer’s directions, light the pilot on the gas water heater.
Now, go to your favorite shower location, and everything you need to do is just simply enjoy an endless stream of hot water. To be honest, all the work was well worth it!
Ensure that there are sufficient amps to operate the tankless water heater. Additionally, it may require three circuits in your circuit box.
In case you have bought an electric water heater, then you should plug it into a standard outlet power source. If you only wire it for another voltage which is different from your mains voltage, then you will need to have an electrician wire the outlet for you. But if you are an electrician yourself, this will not be difficult at all.
Do not forget to check your local plumbing as well as electrical codes before starting. In fact, some areas require a licensed plumber or even electrician before working on electrical and plumbing systems. If in doubt, just call a building code enforcement or utility company in your local city.
Make certain that the water pressure is sufficient for your tankless system.
If you want to use gas as a heat source for this appliance, then you will need to test the gas connection by spraying an adequate amount of soapy water on the union. Also, you should watch for bubbles that can indicate a leakage and poor connection.
Besides, remember to turn off the gas instantly and open all doors and windows until complete ventilation has occurred. After you have cleared the room of leaking gas, you can double- check the connection to remedy the problem. Once you have repaired the connection, test again!
Once again, keep in mind that you have to stick with the directions carefully all the time. This is because some units require the installer be certificated to install it for the warranty to be valid.
Also, some natural gas units require larger supply and exhaust than regular tank-type water heater that requires a plumber/ electrician to install.