Why Do I Run Out of Hot Water in the Shower So Fast?

2014 Jan 16
Posted in: Plumbing

It’s frustrating. All you want to do is relax in a nice hot shower. Too bad you’ve run out of hot water. Again!

So what’s the deal? Here are a few common causes of this problem and what you can do about them.

Water heater is filled with sediment

Over time, a water heater fills with sediment (loose, grainy minerals) because Arizona has very hard water (water filled with calcium carbonate and magnesium).

This sediment takes up space in your water heater’s tank, reducing the total amount of hot water it can heat at once.

Solution: Drain and flush your water heater of the sediment. You should have this done once a year. You can do it yourself to save money or call a professional plumber to get a complete water heater maintenance tune-up.

Water heater tank is too small for your family

If you moved into a home that previously housed a smaller family, then the water heater’s tank may not be big enough for your family’s needs.

Solution: If the water heater is 10+ years old, you may want to consider getting a new water heater with a tank size that fits your needs.

So how do you find the water heater that fits your hot water needs?

First, calculate your peak hour demand (i.e., the highest demand of hot water in your home in a 1-hour period).

Once you have that, you need to find a water heater with a First Hour Rating (FHR) that’s within a gallon or two of your your peak hour demand. The FHR is the number of gallons of hot water a water heater can supply per hour, assuming you have a full tank.

Find the FHR of a water heater by looking on the top left corner of its Energyguide label. Here’s an example of a water heater with a FHR of 48:

Energyguide label with the first hour rating

If you do decide to get a new water heater, we can install and service any brand and size of water heater you choose and we offer financing to assist with the cost. Get started and schedule your consultation today!

Broken dip tube

The dip tube directs cold water to the bottom of your water heater where the heating element is.  This ensures that the water is properly warmed.

But if that dip tube breaks, the cold water just mixes with the warm water at the top of the tank. So you’ll only get tepid water or your hot water runs out quicker than it should—depends on how much of the dip tube broke off.

You’ll know this is the problem if you find small bits of plastic in your shower head, clogging strainers or appliance filter screens.

Solution: This is a complex job, so we suggest contacting a professional plumber to replace the dip tube.

For more information

If none of these suggestions helped, ask one of our experts.

Did you find this article helpful? Check out our other blog posts for money-saving tips and helpful how-tos on heating, cooling, plumbing and electrical work.

George Brazil has been keeping Phoenix-area homes safe, comfortable and energy efficient since 1955. Contact us online for more information about any of our services.
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