When the hot water is completely out, most homeowners know that there's definitely a problem with the water heater. But what if you're able to get some hot water out of the pipes, but not much of it? If you're finding that it takes a long time to get hot water to come out of the pipes or that you're not able to get much of it before it runs out, then one of these three problems could be at fault. Here's what you should know about them.
Poor Pipe Insulation
One potential problem here is that you may have little or no pipe insulation. Pipe insulation helps to keep heat and cold inside the pipe where they belong — depending on the type of water you're using, of course. When it's cold outside, the insulation will help to keep heat from being lost when hot water is called for. This will help to speed up the rate at which you get hot water from the tap and can help it to last longer because less energy will be wasted on warming up the pipes.
However, this is unlikely to be your problem if you either have recently had pipe insulation put in place or if you never had any to begin with. In this case, you should either not be having any problems with your insulation or shouldn't be noticing a change in your hot water supply, respectively.
Pilot Light Problems
Another possible issue here is that the pilot light in your hot water heater may not be operating properly. If the pilot light is turned down low, it can result in the water in the tank heating up more slowly. In other words, when you use up some of the hot water in the tank, it will take longer for it to heat up the new water that's filling the tank. In the meantime, all the cold water that's poured in will be bringing down the temperature of the hot water that was already in the tank. In other words, you're in a battle against time to enjoy hot water before it's completely diluted with cold water and runs out until the tank has a chance to fully refill and reheat.
Water Heater Failure
Finally, it's entirely possible that your water heater is on its last legs. Water heaters, beyond their pilot lights, are often at fault when there's an issue with hot water in the home.
When a water heater starts to fail, it can be for a variety of reasons. For example, your hot water heater may have a leak that's causing it to lose hot water and constantly be refilling. Alternatively, the insulation on your hot water heater may be breaking down and leading to more heat being lost from the tank before it has an opportunity to make it to the tap that you're trying to use.
The good news here is that a plumber can quickly tell you which of these problems is at fault. If your water heater is beginning to fail, there's nothing you can do but replace it. However, your plumber can help you to optimize this process by finding a water heater that meets your household's needs and is reliable and affordable. Contact a company like Good 2 Go Plumbing to learn more.