Why do I keep running out of hot water?

March 30, 2021
This should help you understand why you’re not getting enough hot water and what to do about it.

Water Heater Quickly Runs Out Of Hot Water

There’s nothing worse than a cold shower. There just isn't! So, why does it keep happening? Why is it taking so long for the shower to become hot, but so little time for it to become cold again?

There are several reasons why this could happen. Your water heater might be an inadequate model for your household or you may have more issues going on. Could you benefit from a bigger, newer water heater tank? Or do you just need to have it serviced?

If your home is constantly running out of hot water or you find yourself several times a week running out of hot water, then you need to look for the many possible reasons why this might be happening.

Flushing Sediment From Your Water Heater

A heating element from a water heater with scum and rust - Aspen Mountain Plumbing
A heating element from a water heater with scale and rust.

Your water heater is one of those appliances that is easy to take for granted. It’s out of sight, out of mind, and can do its job for years on end without any thought to it at all. 

You might only think of it when something goes wrong. However, like most appliances, water heaters require periodic maintenance to maximize energy-efficiency and extend the lifespan of the unit. A neglected water heater may keep hot water flowing for a few years, but it will gradually cause your utility bills to creep higher until it fails altogether.

The best way to protect your investment is to have your water heater serviced annually by a licensed - Aspen Mountain Plumbing - water heater plumber.

Inspecting Dip Tubes

A dip tube is a hollow plastic pipe that delivers cold water from your home's cold water supply to the bottom of your water heater. It can be found only in tank-type heaters. It does not exist in tankless water heaters.

A broken dip tube causes mixing of cold water with the lighter hot water in your tank. This can cause you to not get enough hot water in your home. This is because a dip tube directs incoming cold water to the bottom of your water heater, allowing the hot, lighter water to rise to the top. Over time, dip tubes can disintegrate.

One sign of a failing dip tube is the water may not feel as hot as it used to. Dip tubes can last as long as water heaters tanks, but in hard water conditions and without regular maintenance, they can become brittle after spending a few years submerged in hot water.

Another part that is meant to help preserve the life of your tank is the anode rod. This is a sacrificial part meant to have hard water deposit and chemicals attach to it and leave your tank alone. These can last varied amounts of time based on conditions of the water and how much the water heater is used. Anode rod are only found in your tank style heaters.

Checking For Leaks In Your Water Heater

Checking For Leaks In Your Water Heater With Aspen Mountain Plumbing
Checking For Leaks In Your Water Heater.

A leaky water heater could be a major problem, but it is an easy fix. The first step in fixing your leak is to determine its origin and cause.

Some of the reasons that your water heater may start to leak include:

  • Age
  • Bad plumbing either from the repair or installation
  • Poor maintenance
  • Loose drain valve
  • Too much tank pressure  
  • Too high of temperature
  • Tank failure

Water heaters that are not installed correctly can begin leaking prematurely. This could cause tank damage if the proper fittings are not used. A loose drain valve will slowly begin to leak over time, but this is an easy problem to fix; just tighten the valve when you notice the leak.

Over time, pressure to the tank can cause a water heater to malfunction. This may be caused by several issues, including high incoming pressure of the water supply, or thermal expansion. This could result in a bad pressure relief valve or a rupture of the thermal expansion tank. A licensed - Aspen Mountain Plumbing - water heater repair plumber can better address these issues as they can be complicated and potentially dangerous to deal with.

Contact Our Expert Water Heater Plumbers

If the steps above do not restore your heater to full performance, there may be additional problems with your system that need to be professionally diagnosed.

Aspen Mountain Plumbing will conduct a full inspection for corrosion, leaks, and other related problems. We can test the thermostat, elements, gas pressures, and valves. We can also replace the anode rod to prevent corrosion and flush the tank. 

Contact Aspen Mountain Plumbing for all of your water heater repair and replacement needs. Schedule your water heater repair, inspection or service today by calling (307) 922-4413.

“Awesome service and very responsive, punctual and honest. Highly recommended if you want your water heater fixed and fixed right. They also helped fix the lack of water pressure too.” - Steven Lord.

Lance Ball is the proud owner of Aspen Mountain Plumbing.

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