It can be very frustrating when you expect a hot shower and wind up with a cold one. If your hot water heater is not producing enough water, this may be a situation you find yourself in. Learning why this happens can help you fix the problem so that you once again can take a steaming hot shower when you desire. Here are a few causes for this problem.
You're Unrealistic With the Expectations of Your Hot Water Heater
One of the top reasons why your hot water heater isn't producing enough hot water is because you are unrealistic with your expectations of how much hot water the tank should produce. A hot water heater can only produce the amount of hot water that its tank holds. This can range from 30 gallons to 100 gallons. When you use all of the water in the tank, it takes time for it to refill and reheat the water. If you have a 30 gallon tank and someone runs a load of hot water laundry, uses the dishwasher, and then you immediately hop in the shower, your tank will likely not have any hot water left. As such, it is important that you are realistic with your expectations as to how much hot water your tank can produce. If it isn't producing enough hot water for your family, you may need to upgrade to a larger tank.
Problems With the Dip Tube
If you are aware of how much hot water your tank holds, and you are positive that you aren't exceeding that amount, yet you still aren't getting enough hot water, you may have problems with the dip tube. As you use water in your tank, new water is added. This water is carried through the dip tube, placing it in the bottom of the tank. This is where it is heated. As it is heated and new water is added, it rises to the top of the tank, where your hot water pipe pulls water from. However, if your dip tube cracks or breaks, cold water begins to mix in with your hot water. This causes your water to not feel as hot as it should, or even causes you to run out of hot water, as the water isn't being properly heated. A hot water heater repair company can examine your hot water tank and determine if the dip tube is the problem. If it is, the part will need to be replaced. Once replaced, you should have plenty of hot water again.
Check the Gas Supply and Pilot Light
If you have run out of hot water and it doesn't seem like your hot water tank is producing anymore, there may be a problem with the gas supply and/or pilot light. A gas hot water heater uses natural gas to power a pilot light that has a flame. This flame helps to heat the water in the tank, much like the flame on a gas stove heats the pot or pan you are cooking in. If the gas supply is accidentally bumped into the off position, or the pilot light goes out, your flame will die and the tank can't heat the water. The gas line extends out of the side or back of the tank and has a switch that turns the supply on or off. Ensure this is in the on position. If it is, remove the cover of your hot water heater and check the pilot light. Refer to your owner's manual for removing the cover, as it varies based on the type of water heater you have. If the pilot light is off, you will need to relight it. If your pilot light goes out multiple times, there is a problem with it and it should be inspected by a professional hot water heater repair company.
Running out of hot water can be annoying. If you are experiencing this issue, there are three common reasons why. First, you may be using more hot water than your tank produces. Second, you may have a problem with the dip tube. And lastly, your gas supply or pilot light may be off. A hot water heater repair company, such as Rakeman Plumbing, can help you determine what the problem is and help you fix it, helping you to get the hot water you want in your home.