Potential Causes of Reduced Hot Water
If your water heater no longer heats water up as much as it used to, there are several possible causes, and it also depends on the type of water heater you are using.
If you are using an electric tank, it could be caused by defective lower element or missing dip tube. If it’s a gas model, then it is possibly dipped tube.
Sometimes your water heater might seem okay, but during the winter, water becomes colder causing the remaining hot water in the tank to lose its heat faster (the cold water coming in is what pushes the hot out to your shower).
Another possible cause could be when you recently change your showerhead to a model with higher flow rate.
Here are a few things to consider.
You only get to enjoy just 2/3 of a water heaters capacity. This means if your water heater is the 50-gallon model, only 33 gallons would be usable. And if your shower head capacity is 2.5 gallon per minute (GPM), your shower time would be within 15-20 minutes before there would be a temperature drop. This also implies that a 5 GPM showerhead means you’ll have only 8-10 minutes of hot water.
Here’s a test you can perform to see what’s happening
Wait till your tank is recovered (after several hours without using hot water). Also get a 5-gallon bucket and a thermometer that has up to the 160-degree range. First, you put the thermometer in the steam of hot water; the next step is to fill the 5-gallon bucket and take note of the 20-degree temperature drop. With this, you should be able to know how much hot water your tank is producing. If it doesn’t produce up to 2/3 of tanks capacity that’s a sign that it needs servicing or replacement.
How to test the GPM rate of your showerhead
First, you hold up a bucket to the shower head while someone helps you turn on the shower. Allow the water fall freely into the bucket for 30 seconds then you determine the amount of water is in the bucket. You get you GPM statistics double the amount of water in your bucket. If within 30 seconds your bucket fills more than 1/3, it’s a sign that you need to change your showerhead to a lower flow head. This will help you conserve more water and help improve your usable hot water supply.