A hot shower should be relaxing — not a race against time. However, running out of hot water before you’re finished is very common. This isn’t something that you just have to live with, though, because once you know the cause, you also know the solution.
Too Much Demand on the Water Heater
When too many people turn on faucets, or too many appliances start drawing from the supply at the same time, something’s got to give, and it’s usually your shower. Your home has a limited supply of heated water. Yes, large water heater tanks and tankless heater styles are both supposed to provide “unlimited” hot water, but even that has limits because the heating can’t keep up with excessive demand.
You’ve got three solutions here. One is to schedule showers so that only one person uses the hot water at a time, and so that appliances like the dishwasher don’t add to the demand. Another is to replace your water heater with one that has greater capacity to store or heat. The third is to get a second water heater. For example, if you use a tankless heater for your house now, place the clothes washer and dishwasher on a new, separate tankless heater. Separating the supplies often solves the problem.
The Thermostat Is Set Too Low
Your water heater has a thermostat that you set to a particular temperature. The water is supposed to reach that temperature at the fixture that you’re using. However, if you set the thermostat too low — maybe you want to save money — you risk ending up with a cold shower.
At first that doesn’t sound right; if the thermostat is too low, wouldn’t the entire shower be too cold? What’s happening here is that the thermostat may be a few degrees lower than it should be. So your shower starts out feeling hot, but as you get used to the water temperature, you start to feel cool, if not cold.
Set the thermostat to at least 120F. You can set it a little higher if you want, to help stop the growth of Legionella bacteria, and if you do that, you can install an anti-scald device. Lower than 120F, though, is just too low from both a comfort and health standpoint.
The Thermostat Is Simply Broken
One more possible cause is that the thermostat is plain broken. Maybe it looks fine most of the time, but an extended hot-water draw makes it shut down. In that case, you need to get at least a new thermostat, but preferably a new water heater. If the thermostat breaks, chances are the heater is old enough to replace anyway.
Do you want to solve your hot-water woes? Contact Ashley Heating Air & Water Systems for an estimate. Ensure your shower water stays hot.
When it comes time to buy a new water heater, there are now more options than there used to be. The majority of homes have tank water heaters and they have been the only option for years.
Tank heaters keep a reservoir of water heated continuously until it is needed. In recent years tankless water heaters have come onto the scene. Also known as on-demand water heaters, they heat water as it is used rather than keeping it heated until it is needed. Each type of heater has its pros and cons. If you are facing the decision between tank and tankless water heater, here are a few things to consider.
Tank water heaters have been on the market longer. More of them exist and the technology behind them is pretty well established and understood. Because of this, tank heaters are generally less expensive and can cost on average between $500 and $800.
Tankless water heaters are newer and have some benefits over traditional tanks. Some advantages of a tankless heater is that it does the same job but in less space. Tankless can also be more efficient, as it doesn’t have to keep a reservoir heated at all times. For this reason, the average tankless water heater can cost between $700 and $1400.
Because most homes have tank water heaters, most homes are already outfitted to hold tank heaters. This means they not only have space set aside for a large water tank, but they have the necessary plumbing and energy supply lines in place. This makes the installation cost for a new tank heater relatively inexpensive.
If a tankless water heater is being installed into a new building, setting up the necessary plumbing and energy supply is not anymore complicated or time consuming than setting up the same variables for a tank heater. However, if switching from tank to tankless, the plumbing and supply lines will have to be retrofitted and can be a larger expense.
Because a tank heater keeps water warmed to a preset temperature continually, it generally uses more energy. It can account for as much as 25% of monthly home expenses. Although, it should be noted, that some newer tank water heaters are Energy Star certified and are more efficient.
Because tankless water heaters only heat water as it is needed, they use far less energy. Tankless heaters can run from gas or electricity, but gas powered heater are more efficient than an electric unit and most electric units do not meet Energy Star standards.
A tank water heater generally performs pretty well, although if used enough in a given period will run out of hot water. When that happens you will either have to wait for the tank to refill and heat the water or adjust to the cold water.
A tankless heater produces hot water continuously, without interruption. The gas powered models can usually meet all the hot water needs of a household, but electric models work best for smaller homes as they have trouble keeping up with large demand.
When looking for a new water heater, there are many factors to consider. You must consider how much you can afford to spend not only on the heater but also on the installation. If energy efficiency is important to you, it is good to remember that you have options. You must also consider the needs of your household. Make sure to do your research and weigh all of your options before making a decision.