Serving Greater Lynchburg

Why Isn’t There Enough Hot Water?

Why Isn’t There Enough Hot Water?

Not enough hot water

Your water heater is one of the hardest working appliances in your home, second only to your heating and air conditioning system in total energy usage. If you have noticed that the water temperature is no longer hot enough, or you’re running out of hot water too soon, there are a few possible causes.

1. The Thermostat Is Set Too Low
The U.S. Department of Energy recommends setting a tank-based hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Check to see if the thermostat has been set lower than the recommended temperature. If there are young children or elderly residents in the home, we recommend never raising the temperature above 120 degrees. Setting the temperature any higher increases the risk of scalding.

2. The Water Heater Is Malfunctioning
Water heater problems often occur when these systems are not working correctly:

  • Thermal switch
  • Thermostat
  • Heating element

A licensed plumber can inspect the water heater and repair or replace the parts as needed.

3. The Dip Tube Is Broken
Cold water enters the water heater through a tube at the top of the tank. The tube directs the cold water to the bottom of the tank where the heating element is located. If the tube is broken, the cold water will remain at the top of the tank, where the hot water outlet is located, preventing the water from fully heating. Your plumber can inspect the dip tube to ensure it is working correctly.

4. Sediment Has Built Up at the Bottom of the Tank
Over time, minerals in the water can build up at the bottom of the water heater tank where the burner is located. This will cause a gradual reduction in heating efficiency and eventually lower water temperature. Flushing the tank annually, or on the schedule recommended by the water heater manufacturer, will prevent sediment build up and energy loss.

5. The Water Heater Is Located Too Far From Where Hot Water Is Needed.
If you have to run the tap for a long time before the water heats up, or the water never gets hot enough, the problem could be that hot water tank is too far from where it’s needed. During the winter in particular, pipes will cool the hot water before it reaches the tap where it’s needed. Insulating the pipes and the water heater tank can help reduce heat loss.

6. The Tank Is Undersized
A tank that is too small to supply your household with enough hot water will run continuously and never be able to meet the demand. Besides switching to a larger tank, consider upgrading to a tankless water heater. Tankless water heaters heat water only when it’s needed to efficiently provide a virtually endless supply of hot water.

Not enough hot water? Call Hickey Plumbing, Air & Electrical. We find the cause of the problem and recommend solutions to help keep the hot water flowing.