Express Plumbing Heating & Air Blog

We’ve all been there. One minute we’re steaming off the day in a nice hot shower. The next thing we know, the icy blast from the showerhead tells us our time is up. While we are all guilty of taking a little too long sometimes. It’s been known to happen way too quickly. So, what causes your water heater to suddenly run out of hot water? There can be several things that may cause this. Fortunately, most are not a serious issue.

The first thing you should think about is hot water usage. Remember, a hot water heater tank can only hold so many gallons at a time. For example, if you’ve just run the dishwasher and washed a load of white laundry in hot water. You should probably give your tank a little time to heat back up to capacity. Also, make sure that nobody else in the house is using hot water while you are in the shower. They’re stealing your scrub time!

Do you have an on-demand water heater? If you do, there’s a chance it may be too small for your household. The electric models are usually only appropriate for 1-2 people. The gas versions can handle a larger number of residents but still will have trouble keeping up if everyone is trying to use hot water at once. If you have decided to go tankless. Make sure you are choosing the right model and size for your home.

Tank size is also a factor. This again can be related to how many people are in your household. Each tank will have a “peak” rating. This will tell you how many gallons per hour that your tank will heat. For example. If your tank’s peak rating is 40, that means 40 gallons of water will be heated for use in an hour’s time. Try to plan accordingly with your tank’s peak rating.

If you have considered these issues and the problem persists, chances are there is something wrong mechanically. Older model gas water heaters use a thermocouple to fire up their burners. When the part is failing. It doesn’t allow a burn time that is long enough to heat the water to the desired temperature. Eventually, a failed thermocouple will not allow the burners to fire at all.

If you have an electric water heater. There could be something wrong with the elements. If you have an element that has burned out. It limits the heating capacity of your water heater. You can test an element by turning off the water heater and attaching a continuity tester to the element leads. If there’s no continuity, you’ll need to replace the burned-out element.

If you suspect that you may have the wrong type of water heater. Or that your water heater needs repair, give us a call. Express Plumbing Heating & Air has fully-certified technicians standing by to take care of your needs. Nobody likes a cold shower in this weather!

Brad Jordan

company icon