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  • Running out of hot water.

    I'm just wondering if there's some common issues I should check for. You guys are the pros, right?

    Every morning I wake up and get in the shower. About 15 mins later I get out, just as the water is starting to go from hot to warm. Then my wife gets in and shortly after, she complains that I've used up all the hot water.

    It just seems to me that we should have enough hot water for at least two showers.

    For starters, I suspect that the shower head doesn't have any sort of flow restricter on it. I haven't checked yet, but I know when I've replaced shower heads before with hand-held wands, they come with a little doodad in the part you attach to the shower pipe that the instructions say limits the flow. There probably isn't one on this shower.

    Even so though, should I run out of hot water so quickly? It's a 3 bedroom house with 2 (well... when we moved in there were 2) showers in it.

    Is there anything I should check for? I sat beside the water meter when no water was running, and it didn't budge so I don't think I'm leaking hot water anywhere.

    Are water heaters adjustable for volume somehow?

    Any suggestions?

  • #2
    Re: Running out of hot water.

    In our house we have a 40 gal water heater.

    The shower head in my bath is one like the department of park and rec.uses,(basically a glorified mister) but good enough for me

    Lady likes a high volume cheap shower head.I need to get her a head that uses water more efficiently.

    Because my other fixtures,kitchen,lavatories and w.c. have minimal flow resrictions I was able to drop my water pressure at the regulator.

    Do you know what the recovery rate of your water heater is,

    how many gal.

    What type of house pressure do you have.

    you can get flow restrictors for your heads.

    Some type of volume restrictor at the water heater will not affect how much hot water you have for immediate use.

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    • #3
      Re: Running out of hot water.

      Electric or Gas?
      At one time was it better?
      What size of tank? and if gas What is the BTU rating,
      If electric what is the wattage on the tag is it a one element or a two element,

      Without any information I would guess you Have and electric heater, and the lower element is out,
      Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
      attributed to Samuel Johnson
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

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      • #4
        Re: Running out of hot water.

        A gas water heater will give 75 percent of it's capacity as hot. The reason is that the incoming cold overwhelms the last of the hot. So a 40 gallon tank gives you 30 gallons. most showerheads are water savers, they allow 2.2 g.p.m. to flow thru. A 15 minute shower will use up 33 gallons of hot water. A tankless heater might solve your problem.

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        • #5
          Re: Running out of hot water.

          If I was to guess, you have a gas water heater. If that is correct and you used to have sufficient hot water you need to check the input tube in the water heater. This tube is in the inlet side of the tank (cold water input). To access it you will cut off the water, remove the fitting on top of the tank and check to see if the inlet tube is still there. This tube directs the cold water to the bottom of the tank where the burner is. Unfortunately these will corrode at the top and break off. What happens then is the cold water comming in gets mixed with the hot water at the top then goes right out into the pipe going to your shower, thus the short time between the hot and cool shower times. Get a length of copper tubing, flare the end and slide it into the inlet (or you can get a replacement from your plumbing supply store, but it will be plastic and will not last very long).

          Or like said above, electric WH and 1 element is out.

          Clayton

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          • #6
            Re: Running out of hot water.

            Originally posted by Bogart View Post
            A gas water heater will give 75 percent of it's capacity as hot. The reason is that the incoming cold overwhelms the last of the hot. So a 40 gallon tank gives you 30 gallons. most showerheads are water savers, they allow 2.2 g.p.m. to flow thru. A 15 minute shower will use up 33 gallons of hot water. A tankless heater might solve your problem.
            i was always told by the reps the percentage was 70%. so a 40 gal
            = 28 gallons at or above 100 degrees. close enough

            a simple test i will do is to let the owner adjust the shower to the temperature and volume they normally use. then shut off the cold only. hopefully it's a 2 handle valve and that would make it easy. then hold a 5 gallon bucket under the head and time how long it would take to fill the bucket. do the math and come up with your answer. remember it's still winter and the cold water is still cold out here. in summer the temperature rise will be less as the ground water is warmer.

            still need more info to get the exact answer.

            size of heater, gas or electric, btu's or watts. age of heater. how long this has been an issue.

            rick.
            phoebe it is

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            • #7
              Re: Running out of hot water.

              Thanks everyone! I've got to dig some stuff out of the way to get to it, but I'll get all the info from it tonight. It's a gas heater and I'm assuming I'll find the capacity written somewhere on it. I've only been in this house since August, so I'm not sure that it was ever any different. Since it's now only just starting to run out as the second person is finishing up showering, Rick's point about it being winter and the cold water coming in being colder may account for that. If it lasts 5 more minutes in the summer, that would make all the difference.

              Good plan with the buckets! At least then I can know for sure whether there's any issue or whether it's working exactly as it should be.

              Thanks again everyone!

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              • #8
                Re: Running out of hot water.

                Here is an idea that might help

                Try setting the valves (if you have both hot and cold) for less flow while you take your shower. I normally like a good blast to rinse off, but not otherwise. I'm a lucky dog in that I have an adjustable flow valve in my shower head. It doesn't totally close.

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                • #9
                  Re: Running out of hot water.

                  I do that. I only have to barely turn the taps on to have plenty of pressure to take a shower.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Running out of hot water.

                    WW

                    Maybe you need a pressure regulator installed in your main line set to about 40-50 PSI. I think mostly it's that the water coming into your house is very cold this time of year. I sort of have the same problem when it's been very cold for a few days. Try running some cold water (sink in basement if you have one) and take the water temperature. People with deep wells end up having to have larger and higher recovery (big gas burner) water heaters than those down south in the city. In my area right now my cold runs about 45F but in the summer it's around 80F after a week of heat. That alone makes a big difference in the work load on my water heater. You might want to think about adding a second one. The idea is to run them in parallel so each does about 1/2 the work. Also after your water heater burner shuts off, check the temp of the hot water coming out. You might need to adjust the thermostat to slightly hotter. Just don't get wild and set up real high or you'll end up with a steam blast shower. YEEEEOOOOOUCH

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