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What to Do if Your Water Heater is Taking Too Long to Heat

water heater taking too long to heat

We’ve all been there before. It’s the end of the long day and all you want is a nice, hot shower before going to bed. Unfortunately, everyone in your household has already taken a shower before you, and your hot water tank still hasn’t recovered from its previous use. You hop in the shower and are met with cold water. You wait several minutes, but it’s still cold. Finally, you decide the shower is just going to have to wait. But, what if we told you there were steps you could take to ensure your home doesn’t run out of hot water? Here’s what you should do if your water heater is taking too long to heat.

Top 5 Reasons Why Your Hot Water Heater is Taking Too Long

The first step towards making your tank work more efficiently is to identify the water heater problems or weaknesses it is experiencing. Here are the most common reasons why your hot water heater is taking too long to heat.

1. The Location of Your Water Heater

This one is simple - the further away your water heater is from the faucet you are getting water from, the longer it will take the water to heat up. If your water heater is located in your downstairs basement on the opposite side of the house as your 2nd-floor master bathroom, it may take several seconds for the hot water to reach you. On the flip side, the closer your heater is, the faster your water will get hot.

2. You Have a Low Volume Restrictor

Volume restrictors slow down the flow of water through the piping system in your home. This is a safety feature to keep your plumbing system operating smoothly. However, a low-volume water restrictor may delay the delivery of water to your faucets, increasing the time it takes your water to get warm.

3. Your Hot Water Heater is Failing

A standard water heater has a lifespan of about 10 years. As your heater approaches the 10-year mark, it may take longer to heat up the water in your home because it is running less effectively or experience a sudden failure. If your water heater is taking too long to heat, check how long you’ve had it for - you may need a replacement!

4. There is Sediment in the Tank

Mineral-based sediment is a common problem with hot water heaters - especially in South Florida. As sediment accumulates in the bottom of your tank, it can begin to block the necessary heat transfer from the heating element to the water. Over time, sediment buildup can reduce the efficiency of your water heater.

5. Your Tank is Too Small

Did your water start heating too slowly as your kids have grown older? Or has your family’s lifestyle and habits changed? Using more water can put added stress on your water heater. And, if your water tank is too small, you may not have enough heat supply to keep up with the demand. In this case, you’ll need to upgrade to a larger tank.

How to Get Your Water Heater to Heat Faster

Now that you’ve identified the problem, it’s time to go over what options you have if your water heater is taking too long to heat. Here are 3 steps you can take to ensure you never have to wait on hot water again.

1. Get Routine Preventative Maintenance Done Regularly

The easiest and best way to prevent issues with your water heater is to actively maintain its health with yearly preventative water heater maintenance. Maintenance services help catch small issues before they become larger ones. When it comes to your water heater, maintenance may involve clearing the sediment in your tank or re-insulating pipes. Regular maintenance on your water heater can save you time and money in the long run while making sure your entire family has access to hot water.

2. Ask Your Plumber About a Hot Water Recirculation Pump

Hot water recirculation systems use a timer and/or a thermostat to maintain control over hot water. In addition to helping hot water move more effectively, it also recirculates the water back into the tank to speed up the heating process. This can also reduce the energy required to heat your water.

3. Switch to a Tankless Water Heater

If your current tank is too small or your water heater is due for an upgrade, consider making the switch to a tankless water heater. These units heat water as it flows through the system, supplying an endless stream of hot water. The best part is there is no recovery time, so you and your family can take back-to-back showers without worrying about using up all the hot water.

What to Do if Your Water Heater is Still Taking Too Long to Heat

Sometimes, a water heater that is taking too long to heat can be an indicator of a bigger problem - one that needs the attention of a Master Plumber. Here at Sam Jolley’s Plumbing, our Veteran-owned plumbing company prides itself on customer dedication and satisfaction. We’ll come out, address the problem, and get your water heater functional in no time. Give us a call today to get started.

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