Why do I keep running out of hot water? What can I do to fix it?
There can be numerous reasons why you are running out of hot water. First you must ask yourself if you have previously been using hot water. Have numerous people been in the shower? Have you been running the laundry machine/ dishwasher? If you answered yes to any of these questions – your hot water tank may be too small for your current needs. By waiting between hot water uses you can alleviate this problem. Another cause of hot water loss could be the deterioration or breaking of the dip tube in the heater. The dip tube is the piece of equipment that forces incoming cold water to the bottom of the tank so that hot water can rise to the top and be drawn out for use. If this piece stops functioning properly, it allows cold water to mix with the hot water, and subsequently you run out of hot water.
Finally, if you have an electric unit, you could also have a problem with the heating element or thermostat. This can cause only the upper half of the tank to heat up and diminishes your hot water supply.
Depending on what the situation is, to restore a more consistent flow of hot water, you can upgrade to a larger hot water heater, make a repair on your current hot water heater, or possibly the best option – switch to a tankless hot water heater.
Unlike tank water heaters, tank-less water heaters heat water only as it is used, or on demand. A tank-less unit has a heating device that is activated by the flow of water when a hot water valve is opened. Once activated, the heater delivers a constant supply of hot water. You can purchase “whole-house” models or “booster” units to increase the amount of hot water available in your bathroom or other areas of your home. No more cold showers!