Ways to Increase the Hot Water in Your Home
Having plenty of hot water in the home is something most of us take for granted. In fact, most people never give it much thought until they suddenly find that either their water never gets hot enough or they run out of hot water far too quickly. Both of these issues are quite common and can make it difficult ever to wash your dishes properly or take an enjoyable shower. The good news is that there are a number of simple steps and upgrades you can make that will allow you to increase both the temperature and volume of hot water in your home.
Turn up the Temperature on Your Water Heater
If you find that your water never seems to get quite hot enough, the first thing you should do is try turning up the temperature on your water heater. Most water heaters have temperature settings that range between 120 and 160 degrees. While we typically wouldn’t recommend cranking the unit all the way up to 160 degrees due to the increased risk of scalding, even turning it up to the next highest setting can make a major difference.
This is especially true during the winter. The fact that your pipes always stay colder during the winter means that the water ends up losing quite a bit of heat as it travels from the water heater to your sink or shower. For this reason, it is always a good idea to turn your water heater up to the next highest setting during the winter from what you normally have the unit set to in the summer.
If you find that turning up the temperature still doesn’t make your water as hot as you’d like, it is likely that your water heater has some issue that is preventing it from heating properly. In this case, your only real option is to have a plumber inspect your water heater and repair or possibly replace it.
Have Your Water Heater Inspected and Serviced Annually
Annual inspections and maintenance are essential for ensuring that your water heater works properly. While having the unit professionally maintained won’t increase the temperature or volume of hot water, it will still ensure that there are no issues preventing the unit from working as it should.
If you have a traditional water heater, you will want to make sure you have your tank flushed once or twice a year. Flushing the tank removes all of the sediment that collects inside it. This is important as the layer of sediment in the bottom of the tank can act like insulation and absorb much of the heat the unit produces, which will often prevent the water from ever reaching the desired temperature.
Insulate Water Lines in Your Basement, Crawlspace, and Attic
Attics, basements, and crawlspaces often stay much colder than the rest of the building, especially during the winter months. If the water lines that run through these areas aren’t fully wrapped with insulation, it will result in your hot water cooling off quite dramatically before it ever reaches your sink or shower.
This will often make it seem like your water heater isn’t heating properly, but the real issue is all of the heat loss through the uninsulated pipes. Turning your water heater to a higher temperature can help to overcome this issue somewhat, but you should definitely still have your pipes insulated if they already aren’t.
Use Low-Flow Shower Heads
One major issue with traditional water heaters is that it is fairly easy to use up all of the hot water stored in the unit’s tank. When this happens, you will typically need to wait anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours or more for the water to reheat. This problem can be extremely frustrating as no one likes to try to take a shower only to find that someone used up all of the hot water.
If you find that this happens to you quite often, your options are to upgrade to a unit with a larger tank, switch to a tankless water heater or find ways to decrease your water usage. If you’re not currently looking to upgrade or replace your water heater, installing low-flow shower heads can still make a fairly major difference.
A normal shower head will often use anywhere from 40 to 50 gallons of hot water in just 10 minutes, which means you may only be able to have one or two people shower before all of the hot water is used up. Compared to four or five gallons a minute, low-flow shower heads will use under 2.5 gallons a minute. Some highly efficient models even use as little as 1.5 gallons per minute without any noticeable difference in pressure.
Upgrade to a Tankless Water Heater
Although slightly more expensive than traditional units, tankless water heaters are a fantastic way to reduce your energy costs and ensure you never have to worry about running out of hot water. Tankless units only ever heat on demand and can provide an endless supply of hot water whenever it is needed.
Most tankless water heaters are designed to provide hot water for the entire house. However, there are also smaller point-of-use heaters that will provide hot water to only one fixture. These can be installed underneath your kitchen sink or in the bathroom so that you can be guaranteed you always have plenty of hot water for washing dishes or bathing. This can be a great option for certain situations, such as if you find that your hot water is normally sufficient except when showering or if your family constantly uses up all of the hot water when they shower.
Consider Installing a Hot Water Recirculating System
All of the hot water lines in your home are constantly filled with standing water. Once you turn on a hot water tap, water then flows out of the water heater and through the lines. The fact that the water is always standing inside the pipes means that it will quickly cool down, which is why there is always some lag time from when you turn the tap on until the water begins to flow hot. This lag time also means that you’ll use more hot water and always end up with more waste.
The best solution to these issues is to have a hot water recirculating system installed. This type of system uses a pump that occasionally recirculates hot water back through the lines, which ensures that the water will flow hot almost the instant you turn on the tap or shower. These systems have a sensor that detects the temperature of the water at whichever faucet or fixture is furthest away from your water heater. Whenever the temperature drops below a set level, the pump activates and draws more hot water throughout all of the pipes to ensure your water is always hot. It also eliminates any lag time.
If you’re having any issues with a lack of hot water or any other plumbing or sewer problems, you can count on the team at Fusion Plumbing & Air. We install and repair all types of water heaters from any manufacturer. We also work on gas lines, drains, sewer lines, and water filtration systems. In addition, our team consists of certified HVAC technicians that can handle all of your cooling and heating installation, repair, and maintenance needs.
To schedule any plumbing or HVAC service in the Tucson area, give Fusion Plumbing & Air a call today.