Everyone’s been in the frustrating situation of hopping in the shower to find there’s no hot water or turning on the tap and waiting endlessly only to get water that is lukewarm. But why are you losing hot water to begin with? Chances are there’s a problem with your water heater, though pinpointing what the specific issue is can be challenging, especially without the assistance of a professional. Keep reading to learn more about why your water heater may be failing, and remember that for expert water heater repair and installation, you can always call I&C Mechanical.
Reasons Your Water Heater is Failing
- Too Much Sediment: It is not uncommon for your water to accumulate more sediment as your pipes age or as your anode rode wears down. Too much sediment in your tank will start to absorb the heating element’s energy, meaning there is less energy to heat your water. This can result in the inconsistent levels of hot water you may be experiencing. Fortunately, you can get rid of excess sediment fairly easily by flushing out your water heater tank, or hiring a professional to flush it out for you. You may also be able to take care of this issue by replacing your anode rod. And if you live in an area with hard, minerally water, you can reduce the negatve impact on your system by installing a reverse osmosis system. Just remember, whatever it takes to solve the problem, it’s always better to act sooner rather than later, as waiting to get rid of sediment build-up can be dangerous for your whole household.
- Malfunctioning Heating Element: When it comes to a faulty heating element in your water heater, the issue usually lies with the top heating element specifically. While your water heater actually has a top and bottom heating element, the top one tends to be more problematic, since when it stops working, your system will be forced to rely solely on the bottom one. The bottom heating element can keep the water in your tank warm for a period of time, but it cannot heat the water up as it comes out of the tap. Therefore a malfunctioning top heating element may cause you to run out of water quicker than you should. To replace the top heating element in your water heater, call an experienced technician ASAP.
- Broken Dip Tube: Your water heater’s dip tube is responsible for pushing the cold water to the bottom of your tank, thereby making it easier for the top heating element to keep your water warm. When your system’s dip tube breaks, your water heater will begin recirculating cold water with hot water, and you will start to notice your hot water supply running out faster than usual. The good news is dip tubes are easy to replace, so you can either buy one yourself or call a water heater tech to install a new one for you. Watch out for little pieces of plastic in your showerhead and/or sink strainers, as this is a classic sign that your dip tube is broken.
- Incorrect Thermostat Setting: Just like your heating and air conditioning systems, your water heater determines temperature settings through the use of a thermostat. If your water heater’s thermostat is set too low, you will probably notice that your water also feels colder than it should. Luckily, your unit’s thermostat should have a reset button, which you can find by consulting the owner’s manual. After you have found and pressed the reset button, wait a little bit, then check your water to see if it’s heating up like normal again. If your water heater thermostat still doesn’t adjust to the proper temperature (the standard is 140 degrees) after being reset, you will likely need to call a technician to replace the thermostat altogether.
- Improperly Sized Tank: If the water in your shower only retains heat for 20-30 minutes at a time, your water heater may be too small for your property. While limited hot water is usually fine for those who live alone and/or prefer to take short showers, it can be a problem in larger households where multiple people have to use the shower every day. The average water heater tank is 50-60 gallons, but if you have five people or more living in your home, you may need a system with a tank that holds 80 gallons or more. An experienced water heater technician should know to install the proper water heater for your needs from the word go. However, if your family has grown over time, it is possible that you will need to install a replacement water heater with a tank big enough to accommodate the whole household’s needs.