The words "Troubleshooting Why Your Water Heater Is Running Out of Hot Water"

From washing your hands to taking hot showers, warm water is one of the simple pleasures of life. However, if it runs out, it can be a major disruption and may also be a sign of serious trouble with your water heater. In this blog post, Bewley Plumbing will take a look at some of the reasons you could be running out of hot water. There are many more reasons than those listed here. If you have questions, it is best to consult with a certified plumber. Please note that plumbing should always be performed by trained professionals. 

It is critical to take action quickly when dealing with water heater problems. A water heater that is not working properly can potentially catch fire and even explode. By keeping up with regular maintenance on your water heater and plumbing, you are more likely to have hot water when you want it and also prevent expensive repairs.

Common Reasons Water Heater Runs Out of Hot Water 

There are a number of reasons your water heater runs out of water. Some of them are more serious than others. If a water heater is not repaired promptly, it can lead to expensive repairs and dangerous situations, such as fire or the tank exploding. 

It should be noted that a lack of hot water may not necessarily be caused by your water heater, but by a problem elsewhere, such as a leak in your plumbing.

Sediment Build-Up

Sediment build-up in a water heater can reduce the space for hot water. This will need to be remedied by a professional plumber. It is important to have your water heater flushed at least once every six months, to remove the sediment. Failure to do this can cause the buildup of pressure, resulting in an explosion of the tank.

Too Many Appliances Being Used

plumber checking a water heater

If too much hot water is being used either by a faucet or appliance, it can reduce the hot water available elsewhere. For example, using dishwashers or washing machines before a shower may severely reduce the amount of hot water available.

The Water Heater Vent is Clogged Up

A clogged-up gas water heater vent may not only lead to a loss of hot water, but it can also result in more energy used and health hazards, even death!

The Dip Tube Is Broken

A dip tube is an important part of your water heater. It is responsible for moving the cold water to the bottom of your water heater to be warmed. If you find bits of plastic in your shower head, strainers, or in the filters of water-based appliances, you may be dealing with a broken dip tube. 

Heater Elements are Dirty or Broken

A poorly functioning or dirty heater element could be another reason why your water heater is not functioning properly. They may need to be replaced or cleaned. Please be advised that this should only be done by a qualified professional. An electric water heater element will need to be cleaned each year, while a gas water heater element needs to be cleaned every three years. 

Bewley Plumbing Insight: Closer Look At the Heating Element

Generally, electric water heaters utilize a top and bottom heating element.

The job of the heating element on top is to heat the water by the top of the water tank. The job of the heating element located at the bottom is to heat the water put into the tank to keep it at a consistently hot temperature.

In the event of trouble with the bottom heating element, the majority of the water in the tank won’t be heated. The only hot water you’ll get will be a small quantity heated by the top water heater. Once it runs out, unheated water will come through. This results in the uncomfortable situation of hot and cold water in the shower. To remedy this, a professional plumber will need to replace the bottom heater element in your water heater.

The Water Heater Is Old

A water heater over ten years old will need to be replaced. If you are showering and the hot water runs out fast and often, it can be a sign that your water heater is too old.

Signs that your Water Heater May Need to Be Replaced

In the following section are some indications that you may need to replace your water heater. 

  • Hot water doesn’t last as long as it used to.
  • The water heater is over 10 years old.
  • The unit has cracks or is leaking.
  • It needs to be repaired often.
  • Corrosion appears on the water heater.

Water Leaks

If your water heater is quickly running out of hot water, the problem may not even be in your water heater. There is a chance that it could be the result of a plumbing leak. This can lead to increased water bills, costly water damage, and even fires.

Water Pressure is Too Low

Water pressure that is too low is another possible reason for a lack of hot water. Please note that water pressure should only be adjusted by a professional.

When a New Water Heater Runs Out of Hot Water Quickly

two hot water heaters beside each other

If you’ve just had a new water heater installed, the last thing you want to deal with is losing hot water. In the following sections, we will be going over some of the reasons why your new water heater may run out of hot water quickly. Please note that these problems are not exclusive to a new water heater.

Water Heater is Too Small

Water heaters are not one size fits all. Some water heaters are designed specifically for smaller homes, while other ones are designed for much larger households. It is important to know what size water heater will fit for your household. Having too small of a water heater can mean it is not able to keep up with the demands of your home. By working with a knowledgeable plumber, you’ll be able to determine the correct water heater for your application.

You can see if your water heater has enough capacity to handle your home with the following test. Carefully turn the hot water in your shower to full heat, and then turn your kitchen’s faucet to full heat. Look for a difference in the hot water pressure. If it’s a trickle in the kitchen – you know your system is too small. Please take care so you do not get burned when conducting this test.

Trouble with the Thermostat

If you are not getting the hot water you need, it may be because of your water heater’s thermostat. You might have to reset or adjust your thermostat. Always check the thermostat on your new water heater to ensure that it is the right temperature for your household. Ideally, it should be set to about 120-140 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have small children in your home, it is a good idea to set the thermostat to around 120-125 degrees Fahrenheit for safety.

Electric Water Heater Runs Out Or Doesn’t Produce Hot Water

Multiple types of water heaters are available, one of which is electric. Electric water heaters can have problems separate from other types of water heaters. For example, if you are not getting hot water from one, you may have tripped a circuit breaker or blown a fuse.

The Gas Water Heater Runs Out Or Doesn’t Produce Hot Water

As with electric water heaters, gas water heaters have problems unique to them. While most modern gas water heaters don’t use pilot lights, a pilot light going out could cause a lack of hot water in certain gas water heater models.

Air in the gas line or a malfunctioning gas valve may also lead to a lack of hot water. Another common issue is a loose or malfunctioning thermocouple. Thermocouples are responsible for measuring the temperature of the water. If it is not working properly, then it may be keeping your water heater from producing enough heated water to handle your home’s needs. 

Can a Tankless Water Heater Run Out of Hot Water?

Tankless water heaters cannot run out of hot water like conventional water heaters as they do not store it. However, it is important to keep in mind that they are not a source of unlimited hot water and may not be able to produce the amount of hot water desired. For example, if you were to run multiple appliances that use water heaters at the same time, you might overwhelm the tankless water heater. You’ll need to select a tankless water heater that can handle your hot water needs.

Water Heater Repair Services in McKinney Serving Collin and Denton Counties

If you’re in the McKinney, Texas, area and find yourself running out of hot water or are having another plumbing-related problem, the experts at Bewley Plumbing are here to help. Our family-owned company has received many five-star reviews from satisfied customers. We also offer senior citizen, teacher, and military discounts. Since 1947, we’ve helped countless customers with many types of plumbing problems, and we look forward to working with you.

Contact us to request service or receive an estimate!

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