February 12, 2021
By Mark Paup

5 Common Reasons You Are Losing Hot Water

Updated Janaury 17, 2024

Have you been finding yourself waking up to a cold shower every morning? Noticing that your taps never heat up, no matter how long you let them run? If this sounds familiar, you may be dealing with a water heater issue. But what specifically is causing your water heater to malfunction? Keep reading to learn the five common reasons you are losing hot water, courtesy of our experts at Golden Rule.

The Top 5 Reasons Your Hot Water Isn’t Working

  1. If your water temperature is uneven… If your water temperature is uneven, you are probably dealing with sediment build-up in your water heater tank. This tends to happen when your pipes start to age. You could also be dealing with a worn-out anode rod, which is the component in your water heater designed to reduce sediment and bacteria build-up. When there is excess sediment in your tank, that means there is less space to heat the water, and much of the heating power may be absorbed by the sediment. Therefore, it will be harder for your system to provide the consistent water temperatures you rely on. Try flushing your water heater out or calling a technician to do this for you if you are experiencing this problem (your tank should be flushed out annually anyway.) If you can’t get rid of the sediment even after flushing your tank out and replacing your anode rod, you may need to replace the tank altogether.
  2. If your water only stays hot for a limited period… When your shower or faucets are only able to provide hot water for a short amount of time, there is probably an issue with your system’s heating element. There are two heating elements in your water heater—one at the top of the tank and one at the bottom of it. When the bottom heating element stops working, you will be forced to rely solely on the top heating element, meaning your hot water will run out quicker. You will likely need to replace your water heater’s top heating element if you are experiencing this issue.
  3. If your water temperature is always lukewarm… Lukewarm water is a common sign that your water heater’s dip tube is broken. The dip tube is the component in your system that pushes cold water to the bottom of the tank. When the tube breaks, cold water gets added to the tank, mixing with the hot water that’s already inside—hence the lukewarm water that keeps coming out of your taps. Look for small pieces of plastic in your showerhead or strainers if you are experiencing this problem, as these can be signs of a broken dip tube. Luckily, replacing a dip tubes is fairly easy and can usually be done on your own or with the assistance of a technician.
  4. If your water heater cannot supply, enough hot water for everyone in your house… Does your water heater consistently fail to supply enough hot water for everyone in your household? If so, you may simply be dealing with a water heater that is too small for your home’s needs. While a conventional water heater tank can store roughly 50-60 gallons of water, if you live in a big house, with lots of people, you may need to install a heater with a tank that can hold 80 gallons or more. You will know your water heater tank is too small for your house if it stops supplying hot water after roughly 20-30 minutes. Competing for hot water is a pain, so if you are dealing with this problem, don’t hesitate to call an expert to upgrade you to a larger water heater today.
  5. If you’re no longer getting any hot water at all… When your water heater has stopped working entirely, the most common explanation is a problematic thermostat. Just like your heating and air conditioning equipment, your water heater’s temperature is determined by a thermostat setting. If you are consistently getting cold water when you should be getting hot, your system’s thermostat is probably either malfunctioning or set to the wrong temperature. Try clicking your water heater thermostat’s reset button to see if this helps (you should be able to find this component using the manual.) If resetting your thermostat does not work, you may need to replace this part—or replace your whole system altogether. Fortunately, our experienced water heater technicians at Golden Rule have everything you need to ensure you get a water heater that functions at optimum efficiency for years to come.

Call 515-393-4526 now to schedule a water heater appointment, or request service online.

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