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5 Reasons You Are Running Out of Hot Water


Close view of adult female holding baby; both reaching hands under running faucet.

If you and your family consistently have to take lukewarm showers or if a water-based appliance frequently runs out of hot water during a cycle, you likely have a water heater issue. Fortunately, most of the reasons you run out of hot water are simple fixes.

Here are the five common reasons homes run out of hot water and our expert team’s suggested solutions.

You Need a Bigger Water Heater

Standard water heater tanks hold about 60 gallons of water, but if your household comprises more than five adults and teens, you might need a tank that holds at least 70 to 80 gallons. Even if each member of your home staggers their shower, dishwasher, or washing machine use, there might not be enough water in the tank to accommodate everyone.

Solution: Call your local plumber and ask for recommendations for reliable water heaters with larger tanks. The plumber can provide a quote for a new tank as well as the old tank removal and new tank installation costs.

One or Two Heating Elements Have Worn Out

Water heaters typically have two heating elements: One at the top of the tank and one at the bottom. If one component fails, you’ll likely have lukewarm or cold water.

Solution: You can replace a faulty heating element yourself or call a licensed plumber or technician to replace it. If you choose to replace it yourself, remember to turn off the power before removing your water heater’s cover panel.

The Thermostat Needs To Be Reset

Your water heater has its own thermostat directly attached to the tank. Sometimes, it just needs to recalibrate itself so it can measure the temperature correctly.

Solution: The owner’s manual for your water heater should list the process for resetting the thermostat. If you don’t have the owner’s manual, search for the make and model of your water heater online. Follow the instructions you find in the manual or call a local plumber to reset the thermostat.

There’s a Sediment Buildup

Depending on the hardness of the water in your area, your water tank may have developed a sediment buildup naturally over time. This buildup can interfere with the heating element at the bottom of your tank. You’ll need to have your water heater tank flushed of the sediments.

Solution: You can flush your water heater yourself, or you can hire a local plumber to flush the tank. After draining the tank, you’ll need to have access to a long vacuum pump to remove the sediment at the bottom.

Your Tank’s Dip Tube Is Broken

To efficiently heat the cold water in your water heater tank, a dip tube moves cold water quickly to the bottom, leaving only hot water at the top. Dip tubes can break occasionally. If yours breaks, in addition to having consistently lukewarm water, you might also notice broken plastic pieces in your showerhead.

Solution: Dip tubes are inexpensive and can be found at your local home improvement store. We highly recommend hiring a plumber to replace the dip tube unless you have the tools to cut copper pipes as needed. 

Call South Carolina’s Trusted Plumbing Company

If you live in Greenville and would like a reliable plumber to restore your home’s hot water, contact Waldrop Plumbing — Heating — Air. We have over 50 years of experience providing exceptional plumbing services to homeowners in South Carolina, so you can rest assured that the licensed plumber who arrives at your home will fix your water heater as soon as possible.

Schedule an appointment with one of our licensed plumbers today! Call (864) 536-0887 or contact us online.

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