A hot shower after a long, hard day is a joy. But not when you find yourself showering under a frigid tap. Especially if your hair is still full of shampoo. There are several reasons you might be losing hot water in the middle of the shower or the dishes.
If you find that you don’t get as much hot water as you need for everyday cleaning and comfort, you may wonder why.
Most Common Reasons for No Hot Water
From increased demand to deteriorated equipment, there are many reasons you’re not getting the hot water you need. Check out the most common ones to see if they might apply to you.
1. Demand is too high
If you’ve added members to your household or doing serious spring cleaning, you may be using more hot water than your heater can manage.
Your water heater has a set capacity and once that tank of heated water is used, it can take a while to heat up another tank. It takes as much as 40 minutes for a gas heater to 1.5 hours for an electric model.
Smaller water heaters heat faster than large capacity, and gas-fired heaters reach temperatures quicker than electric models.
With South Florida’s mild weather, even the cold-water supply is lukewarm most of the year. However, it will still take some time to heat the tank.
2. Heater temperature is set too low
Most water heaters have an adjustable thermostat setting. Some set the thermostat at 120 degrees Fahrenheit, in compliance with recommendations from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
It only takes two seconds to suffer third-degree burns when exposed to 150 degree water. That’s dangerous for small children and the elderly, who may not be able to safely manage the faucets.
However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends setting the temperature on your water heater to 140 degrees. It offers water hot enough for hygiene while preventing bacteria from growing inside the tank.
Choosing a setting between 120 and 140 is safest. Use your best judgment according to your household and hygiene needs.
Many homes have timers on the water heater to save on energy costs. Why heat and maintain water at 140 degrees for hours on end when no one is home or awake to use it?
If the timer is mechanical, you may have forgotten to reset it when the time change happened. With digital technology and automatic clock updates, many of us forget we still may have clocks to change, including the one on the water heater.
Lack of power
If you suddenly start losing hot water one day, it may be an electrical issue. Check the circuit breaker to see if it has tripped
But don’t just set it and forget it. Make sure that it continues to work normally after tripping the breaker in case it’s a forewarning of the heater’s imminent demise.
Lack of gas
Similarly, you could be losing hot water due to a leak in your gas line. If you have a gas-fired water heater, a leak is dangerous and should be addressed immediately.
If you smell a gas leak, turn off the gas and leave the house. Call an emergency gas technician. Remain outside of your home and seek medical attention if you feel ill from gas fumes.
Water heater leak
Water heaters work under the enormous pressure of rapidly heated water. So, any leak is a serious concern. If you see or hear evidence of a leak in your water heater, cut the power or gas immediately and call a professional repair technician.
Even treated water produces sediment buildup on the interior of your water heater. Many experts recommend flushing it every six months to prevent this from happening. If you have hard water, you should flush it more frequently.
Every year is the minimum, however.
This sediment is generally benign mineral particulates found in most water supplies, but it can hamper the effectiveness of your water heater.
If you haven’t flushed your water heater regularly, it’s probably time for a professional inspection and service call.
Nothing lasts forever – including your water heater. Electrical heating elements can burn out. Rust, mineral buildup, and time can all take their toll. Water heaters generally last from 10-15 years, so yours may have just reached the end of its useful life.
Make an appointment with the team at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing in Port St. Lucie for a water heater inspection and service call. If it’s time to replace or upgrade your water heater, our trained technicians can provide installation at your convenience.