You could be pondering this exact question lately; and the answer may be inside of your hot water heater. If yours is a standard electric unit, elements keep the water at its minimum temperature. There is usually a top and bottom element; and when one of these stops performing properly you will notice a shortage in how much hot water is available.This is easy for your local plumber to diagnose and fix.
Something else that may be discovered as the source of trouble in a hot water heater is corrosion and sediment. Over time sand and rust may come in through the pipes. These will fall to the bottom and cause decreased energy efficiency and a shorter lifespan. Your plumber should be called regularly to flush out the unit to ensure proper operation, especially if you are on well water.
Another cause of running out of hot water may be the size of your tank. Have you begun washing more clothes so that a higher volume of hot water is needed on a regular basis? If the volume has increased or you want to be able to consume more hot water you should contact your plumber and ask about installing a larger hot water heater. An additional solution worth considering is a “tankless” unit. Because this type heats the water as it is needed, you are generally able to serve multiple sources and do it more efficiently. Since “tankless” units do not have to heat and store many gallons of water, you may see a decrease in electricity usage.
If you have an electric hot water heater and are considering a new unit, talk to your plumber about using natural gas or propane for heating the water. These types are known to provide higher temperatures along with better efficiency when compared to electric units; whether used with “tank-style” or “tankless.” When discussing cost be sure to factor in the “Energy Star” (in the US) efficiency rating of any new hot water heater being considered, since the annual savings can justify a higher initial cost.
Is the water heater in your Columbia home in need of maintenance? Call Plumbing Solutions at (803) 513-5749 and get started today!