Does your shower start out nice and hot, then quickly turn cold after just a few minutes? If the problem is only happening while taking a shower, it could be the shower mixer. A shower mixer is the valve that mixes hot and cold water in your shower to obtain the desired water temperature. Temperature control shower valves have a spring that turns the hot water supply down when it detects a change in the water temperature. As the spring ages and wears out it results in a loss of hot water temperature.
If the hot water pressure problem is only occuring at a single faucet, your plumber can check the pressure balance and temperature control on the fixture.
Broken Dip tubeIf there is a reduction of hot water throughout the home, the cause is likely at the water heater. A common cause of rapid hot water loss is a broken dip tube. The dip tube is a pipe inside the water heater that sends cold water from the supply line through the hot water to the bottom of the tank where the burner heats it up. If the dip tube breaks, the cold water will empty at the top of the water heater, causing it to overrun the hot water outlet. The result is cold water being sent throughout the house.
To determine if the dip tube is the cause of the problem your plumber will need to pull the cold water inlet pipe out of the water heater to check the condition of the dip tube. The tube can usually be replaced if it is damaged.
Undersized TankIf your household has grown in size, or you have added a new bathroom, the eixisting tank may be too small to meet your hot water needs. Your plumber can help determine the right size tank to install by estimating the amount of daily hot water use.
Another option to avoid running out of hot water is to install a tankless water heater. Tankless water heaters heat water on demand only when it's needed, resulting in a continuous supply of hot water. They are also more energy efficient, since they don't have to keep a large storage tank of water heated at all times.
Water Heater AgeA tank-style water heater will typically last around 10 years. Over time, as sediment builds up at the bottom of the tank it can lead to corrosion. The burner will gradually become less efficient, producing less hot water in the same period of time. When deciding whether to repair or replace the water heater it's important to consider the age and condition of the unit. Replacing an 8-10 year old water heater with a newer, more efficient unit, will likely result in lower utility bills.
Have water heater problems? Call Superior Plumbing & Heating. We can help diagnose the cause and recommend effective solutions to get the hot water flowing again.