If you've noticed that your baths and showers don't last as long before the water starts getting cold, don't think that your only option is to purchase a higher capacity water heater. There are some problems that can happen as your water heater ages — most of which are easily fixed and inexpensive — but the issue could also be inefficient water use.
Turn Up Water Temperature
You don't need to buy a bigger tank to make the hot water within last longer. If you have a new water heater, or if you've never played with the temperature gauge, check to see what it is currently set at. The standard is usually about 120 degrees, which is lower than most people want. By making the water inside hotter, you increase the amount of cold water that can be mixed with it to keep the same temperature, which means the hot water will be used more slowly. This step alone can help your water stay hot for much longer.
Repair Your Dip Tube
The dip tube is a part of your water heater that pushes cold water from the top of the tank to the bottom where it can be warmed, and it makes sure that all the water in your tank is heated. If the dip tube breaks, cold water coming in will simply mix with hot water, which can result in two problems: either your water won't get very hot at all, or it will last for a much shorter duration. This can be a complicated process, so it's best to leave this one to a professional, but it should run you cheaper than replacing your entire water heater — and if there's nothing else wrong with your tank, there's no reason to replace it.
Install Low-Flow Showerheads
Having a high-flow showerhead can feel good, but it uses up water fast, which means you don't get to enjoy the heat for quite as long. A low-flow showerhead carries less water, and a decent model won't make you sacrifice good water pressure and comfort.
Set Up Water Use Schedule
Even if you're using water efficiently, your tank can only heat up water so fast. If you live with other people — or even on your own — set up a schedule so that your dishwasher, washing machine, showers and sinks run at different times of day, and try to shower when other water sources haven't been running for a few hours. This gives your tank time to heat up more water.
Drain And Flush Tank
If you have a tank that holds a certain number of gallons, it may actually be holding less. Sediment can build up in your tank over time, and while it is harmless, it decreases the capacity of your tank, which in turn means less hot water. Draining and flushing your tank is an easy process that you should make part of your regular maintenance by doing once or twice a year.
Contact a plumber, like Professional Plumbing Solutions, for more information on how to maintain your hot water heater.Share
15 January 2015
When I was in college, I lived in an old house just south of the university campus with five other girls. When we came back from Christmas break, the heater was broken. The beginning of January was the coldest time of the year, and because it was the weekend, the heating company couldn't come fix it for a few days. My roommates and I pulled our mattresses into the front room and slept all together to keep warm. Two weeks later, our heater broke again! That time we ended up getting a completely new furnace. Needless to say, we got to be good friends with the heating contractor that month, and it was a good experience that led to the creation of this blog.