Why Do You Run Out of Hot Water?

Some days there is nothing that feels better than a nice hot shower. This is why there's no feeling quite as dreadful as feeling your shower slowly cool before turning ice cold. The question is, why do you run out of hot water and end up having to rinse the shampoo from the top of your head with icy cold water?

Water Heater Isn't Sized Properly

By far, the number-one culprit is having a water tank that is too small. Water heaters are rated on how much they make in one hour (FHR, or First Hour Rating). If you have a 90-gallon demand and your heater's FHR is only 60 gallons, the last person in line is going to have a cold shower. If this happens, it's time to re-estimate how much hot water you use during a peak time and resize accordingly.

Water-Heater Elements Are Bad

Another way that you run out of hot water is if the elements inside are corroded or need to be replaced. Generally, an electric heater will have two elements: one upper and one lower. The rule of thumb with this is that if the upper element is bad, you will have no hot water. If the lower element goes bad, you will get some hot water. That's because the cold water will enter into the bottom of the tank, and the hot water will be drawn from the top. If the top element heats, you'll get a little hot water from that area. If only the lower element heats, that water will cool off before it hits the top of the tank.

Corrosion and Sediment

Finally, you'll have a problem if your water heater has corrosion or sediment. These both affect the heating elements in electric heaters and cause a reduction in efficiency in gas heaters. Corrosion not only erodes the elements and reduces their ability to heat the water but also also breaks down the interior of the tank, leading to higher thermal loss. Sediment coats the elements or the heating core of a gas heater and reduces how well the heater heats the water; both of these not only cause your heater to run overtime but also reduce its ability to replenish the hot water as it is used.

Running out of hot water is annoying, but ultimately this is a very solvable problem. To prevent corrosion or sedimentation, make sure to soften your water and keep the anodes healthy. With a little care and preventive maintenance, you'll never run out of hot water again. 

For more information, contact a company such as Rapid Plumbing Inc.