Perhaps you get home from a particularly taxing day at work and look forward to a relaxing, long, and toasty shower. A few minutes in, the hot water becomes warm, steadily creeping toward cold. Your plans for a relaxing shower are thwarted, adding the icing on the cake to your already bad day.
So, now you’re wondering why the hot water is tapping out within a few minutes of running toasty water. A couple of things could be causing the lack of hot water, from a faulty water heater to a low thermostat. We’re here to walk you through the potential reasons and how to fix them, so continue reading to learn more!
Why Does The Hot Water In My Shower Run Out Fast?
The hot water in your shower might run out for a few different reasons. It would make sense that the hot water runs out after multiple people take long showers, but if you’re the only one who has showered and the water runs cold, something else is going on.
Here are a few common reasons the hot water in your home might run out fast:
- The thermostat on the water heater is too low or too high
- The dishwasher or washing machine is also running
- You have a high-flow showerhead
- The plumbing in your home is poorly insulated
- A faulty heater
- A poorly maintained hot water tank
Fixing most of these problems is a breeze, but that isn’t the case for all. Of course, replacing the whole system isn’t ideal, but it may be your best option in some scenarios.
How to Make The Hot Water Last Longer
Now that we know the common reasons why your hot water taps out quickly, let’s take a look at the potential fixes to help the toasty water last longer. Some fixes are quick and easy, like adjusting the thermostat, while others are involved, like replacing an old water heater.
Check Your Thermostat
In some cases, your thermostat settings might not be high enough. You can try raising the thermostat settings on your water heater by a few degrees to help the hot water last longer. Don’t raise it drastically, as you could have issues with scalding.
A few degrees should do the trick. Adjust the thermostat slightly, then test the results. If nothing changes, the thermostat might be going bad. You can test the thermostat easily enough with a digital multimeter. If you’re not comfortable doing so, enlist the help of a professional.
Install A Low-Flow Showerhead
A low-flow showerhead could help the hot water in your home last longer. It’s a simple fix, and despite the name, you shouldn’t notice any difference in your water pressure. Many folks confuse the two, but they’re not the same thing.
A low-flow showerhead restricts water flow, making it slower but just as effective. Bonus: you’ll probably even notice a difference in your water bill at the end of the month!
Don’t Use The Washer Or Dishwasher While Showering
Your dishwasher and washer can significantly affect your hot water consumption. If you wash your laundry with cold water, the washing machine won’t make much of a difference, but your dishwasher will.
Try to run the washer or dishwasher after showering or at different points in the day instead of running all three simultaneously.
Insulate Your Plumbing System
Uninsulated plumbing can cause your hot water to lose heat as it moves through your home from the water tank. Once the heated water leaves the heating tank, it travels through the plumbing in your home, heading toward your shower.
If the plumbing isn’t insulated at all, the water can quickly lose its heat on its way to your kitchen or bathroom. Have a plumbing professional examine your plumbing system and optimize the insulation protecting the system.
Check The Heating Elements
Your water heater could be the root of the problem, but more specifically, the heating elements. When the heating elements don’t function normally, the water won’t reach the temperature set on the thermostat. So, you might get lukewarm water or hot water that quickly runs out.
The heating element in your system varies depending on the type of energy source it uses (electric, gas, solar). You can easily replace the system element to improve the system’s overall performance.
Service The Heating Tank
Like every other system in your home, your hot water tank requires attention every now and again. A poorly maintained hot water tank is one of the primary culprits of faulty hot water systems, as sediment and corrosion can build up in the tank.
This lowers the overall water quality and impedes the effectiveness of the heating elements. Luckily, a professional can quickly correct this problem for you by draining and cleaning the tank. It doesn’t take long and is a straightforward process, but it is usually left to the professionals.
Replace The Hot Water Tank
In some cases, the hot water tank might be old and worn. Most water heaters last about eight to ten years, so if it’s been longer than that, you might need to replace the system. It might be more expensive to fix the individual parts rather than replace the system entirely. Alternatively, you might be able to supplement an underperforming water tank.
Sometimes, your home’s tank might not be big enough to supply your entire home. So, you can always supplement the tank with an extra tank. While most hot water systems use one tank, you can add a second tank to boost the system’s performance. This is an excellent alternative to spending money on a whole new system.
If you’re not too keen on adding another tank, you could also install a tankless water heater. These heaters are considerably more energy-efficient and can lower your water bills. As the name implies, these water heaters don’t have a tank, so the system heats water on demand.
These systems tend to be pricier than other options, but you usually save money in the long run since you’re not wasting money on heating water that isn’t used. So, if you’re in a position where replacing the system is the best option, consider implementing a tankless water heater.