Water Heater Taking Too Long to Heat?
You expect to have hot water available at all times, even if you’re the last one to shower in the morning. However, if your water heater takes too long to heat, you could be left with a lukewarm shower at best. You don’t have time to wait 30 minutes for the water to heat back up!
To prevent this inconvenient scenario, learn more about your water heater’s recovery time and how to improve it.
What Affects Water Heater Recovery Time?
When you turn on a hot water faucet, heated water rushes through the pipes toward the plumbing fixture. Cold water enters the tank to take its place, which must be heated to the desired temperature. “Recovery time” refers to how long it takes a water heater to heat a full tank supply after it has been depleted by running the dishwasher, doing a load of hot laundry and taking multiple showers in a row.
Various factors affect water heater recovery time, including:
- Fuel: Gas water heaters heat twice as fast as electric ones.
- Size: Smaller tanks can’t hold as much hot water, so they go through their supply faster, making you wait longer for more hot water.
- Age: Water heaters lose efficiency as they get closer to the end of their lifespan.
- Type: Storage water heaters must reheat a tank of hot water, but tankless models heat water on demand, meaning there is no recovery time.
How to Prevent Running Out of Hot Water
You have a few options for ensuring you always have hot water when you need it:
- Change fuel types: If you have an electric water heater, consider upgrading to a gas one for faster recovery time. You may need to install gas lines and appliance hookups if you don’t already have them before making the switch.
- Install a larger water heater: A 40-gallon water heater is suitable for a family of two, but if you have multiple bathrooms and more people in your household, consider a 50- to 80-gallon heater.
- Upgrade to a tankless water heater: With a unit that heats water on demand, you’ll never run out of hot water again. Plus, your water heating bills will be about 35 percent lower. The only downside is that tankless heaters aren’t good at multitasking. The solution is to install a small, point-of-use heater under the kitchen sink. Never again will showers compete with the dishwasher for hot water!
- Turn up the water heater temperature: It will take you longer to go through hot water if it’s a higher temperature to begin with. Just be aware that your water heating bills will go up and the chance of scalding at the tap will increase.
- Insulate the tank: This reduces standby heat loss for more efficient heat recovery and lower water heating bills.