It’s a cold winter morning and you’re ready to start your day with a hot shower. You twist the handle and wait for the water warm up so you can jump in.
You keep waiting. And waiting. And waiting…
So why isn’t the water getting warm? Well, there are many factors to consider.
Let’s break them down:
- Blown Fuse or No Gas – One of two problems could have caused your gas water heater to stop producing hot water: the pilot light may have gone out, or the unit ran out of gas. And if you have an electric water heater, a tripped circuit breaker or blown fuse may be to blame. It's also possible that a clogged flame sensor has to be cleaned, or that the electronic ignition produces only a dim light (or none at all) even though it's getting power.
- Old Water Heater – If your water heater is over eight years old or has substantial wear and tear, it could be the cause of your hot water taking a long time to heat up – or not heating up at all.
- Small Water Heater – It's possible that your water heater isn't big enough to meet your family's hot water needs. Later in this article we’ll discuss the ideal water heater size for your home in more detail.
- Faulty Heating Element – Electric water heaters have a set of upper and lower heating elements that, if they stop working, might cause a disruption in your hot water supply.
- Distance – If the water must travel a long distance from your water heater to the sink, shower, or tub that could be the problem. For example, if your water heater is in the basement, it may take a long time for hot water to reach the sink in your second-floor bathroom.
- Low Water Pressure/Low Flow Rate – A drop in water pressure can cause your water heater to malfunction, and there are a variety of causes for this including a partially closed meter valve or main shutoff valve, old pipes or faulty pressure regulator.
- Sediment Buildup – Sediment buildup is one issue that might reduce the efficiency of your water heater. It's natural for water to have some minerals, and sometimes these minerals accumulate at the bottom of the heater's tank. As sediment builds up in the tank over time, it leaves less room for water, and a tank with a lower water capacity will run out of hot water faster than one without sediment.
How can homeowners fix this problem?
Well, relocating your heater and pipes closer to your bathroom is out of the question unless you're up for a large construction project, but there are other effective options:
- Install a New Unit – Selecting the right tank capacity is essential for you and your residence. Hot water tanks accommodate a range of gallon sizes, and your tank specifically should the number of people in your household. Generally speaking, a tank capacity of 20 to 40 gallons is recommended for a family of one to two people, while a tank capacity of more than 50 gallons is recommended for a household of more than four people.
- Install a Tankless Hot Water System – Unlike traditional tanks, tankless systems do not store hot water. They use a heating element to heat water and supply it instantly, whether it's fueled by electricity or gas.
- Install a Hot Water Recirculation System – Installing a recirculation system on your water heater can both speed up the delivery of hot water and save you money. This system is controlled by a timer or thermostat and pumps water from the heater to the fixture quicker and returns used water to the heater. While you wait for your shower or water fixture to produce hot water, this approach reduces the quantity of water wasted.
- Insulate Your Hot Water Heater and Water Pipes – Water pipes can be insulated to keep the temperature of water as it moves from a heating unit to the plumbing fixtures consistent. Insulated pipes can even raise the temperature of the water by a few degrees!
At Ben’s ProServ, our licensed HVAC team has the experience to assist you with the solutions outlined above if you can relate to the hot water issue. To learn more or schedule an appointment, call 856-347-3588 or visit BensProServ.com.