Running out of hot water

If you haven’t jumped on board with the latest health trend of taking cold showers. Then running out of hot water may be an unwanted and frustrating annoyance in your home. There are several reasons why you may be running out of hot water sooner than you expect.

Let’s take a look at what might be causing you to run out of hot water and what you can do about it.

Common reasons why people run out of hot water quickly:

You don’t have the right size hot water cylinder

If your household has a hot water cylinder, you’re limited to the amount of hot water it contains. If it is a 250-litre cylinder, you have 250 litres of hot water to use at any given time.

As you use some of that hot water, more needs to be heated up. This is known as the recovery time of your hot water cylinder. How long it takes to heat up more water depends on whether your hot water cylinder is a gas or electric one, how old and efficient it is, how much hot water has been used.

As a rough guideline, we suggest the following sizes of hot water cylinders:

1-2 people = 135-150L

3-4 people = 180-250L

5-6 people = 270-300L

These are estimates as the amount of hot water you need depends on how many baths and showers you take. Whether you hand wash dishes and clothes or use appliances for these. How mindful you are of using water efficiently and other water usage habits you have.

There is too much sediment in your hot water cylinder

It’s a good idea to schedule regular maintenance of your hot water cylinder. Over time, sediment builds up inside the cylinder. Which is completely normal and harmless.

If there is hard water where you live, your hot water cylinder will accumulate a build-up of minerals. Hard water is high in dissolved minerals, primarily calcium and magnesium. Mainly due to the composition of the groundwater in the region.

If you don’t have your hot water cylinder regularly checked, cleaned and maintained. The build-up and sediment inside it may take up space that should otherwise be used for hot water.

In effect, it’s decreasing the amount of hot water you have in your cylinder. Give us a call, and we can schedule a maintenance check of your hot water cylinder.

Your hot water cylinder is faulty

You may be running out of hot water because parts of your hot water cylinder are not working correctly. The first place we’d check is the thermostat. The thermostat’s job is to regulate your hot water temperature.

By switching off the heat supply from your boiler once the set temperature of the water has been reached. If it’s faulty, the thermostat may be shutting off prematurely. Therefore, affecting the temperature your water is set to heat to.

Furthermore, the other thing that could be causing the lack of hot water is an issue with the tempering valve. Which also plays a part in whether or not hot water is being delivered from your hot water cylinder.

This isn’t something you can repair yourself. As there are strict compliance issues surrounding tempering valves to ensure you cannot be burnt or scalded by your hot water.

A licensed plumber must only install tempering valves. It’s safest to give our hot water cylinder experts a call and we can check the various components of your hot water cylinder to ensure they’re working correctly.

A hot water cylinder may not be the right type of water heater for you

If you’re running out of hot water frequently and your household uses a hot water cylinder. It may be time to reconsider the best water heating method is for your family. Our water usage and habits change over time as we go through different stages of life.

For example, families with babies and toddlers may use a lot of hot water due to daily baths and frequent hot water washes of nappies and baby clothes. A household with children may find their hot water use increase as their kids become teenagers. (Needing more showers and laundry done). Later in life, that same couple may see their water usage decrease as they become empty nesters. A family that participates in many water sports may find themselves using more hot water if they’re washing more towels. Or they may find they use less hot water if they’re showering at the pool.

At Sumich Plumbing & Drainage, when we hear people complain about running out of hot water. We always look at their water use. It’s not enough to just consider the number of people in the household. It’s essential to know their age and stage of life and their habits and water use. If the hot water cylinder they have isn’t large enough for their needs.

We’ll often recommend a tankless instantaneous hot water system. This is often a better solution than just upgrading to a larger hot water cylinder. The beauty of a continuous flow hot water system is that it heats water as you use it.

You’re not paying to heat the water you don’t use, and you don’t run out of hot water. If you’d like more information about the benefits of a tankless instantaneous flow hot water system. Please get in touch or read more information here.

There is a faulty appliance somewhere in your house

When you run out of hot water unexpectedly, you often blame the people taking long showers. There are, however, other reasons why you may be running out of hot water. Things that have nothing to do with how much water you’re using from the tap.

Several appliances in the house use hot water. These include:

  • showers
  • baths
  • sinks, basins
  • dishwasher
  • washing machine
  • underfloor heating
  • some heated towel rails
  • plumbed in hot water taps
  • plumbed in coffee makers

Some of these will heat their own water, and others will use the water from your hot water cylinder. It’s best to look into which ones are drawing on the hot water from your cylinder.

Additionally, have them checked to make sure they’re running correctly. And not affecting the supply of hot water you need for washing, bathing, etc.

You’re not using water efficiently in your household

We don’t like to lecture or nag, but if you’re running out of hot water more frequently than you think you should be. Perhaps it’s time to pay more attention to how much water your household is using.

We were all told to limit our showers to six minutes during Auckland’s water shortages. But do you really know how long your showers are? Are you mindful of turning the tap off when you’re brushing your teeth and shaving? Do you fill the sink rather than leave the water running when you’re washing dishes?

There are a lot of seemingly little things we can all do to save water. These simple fixes will help in your attempts to not run out of hot water so quickly.

If you believe you’re running out of hot water too quickly. We suggest you monitor the things mentioned above. Pay attention to how many appliances are using hot water at once. Have a look at the size of your hot water cylinder and compare it to the needs of your household.

Then get in touch with our hot water cylinder experts. We can investigate further and see what improvements we can make to stop running out of hot water when you need it.