Are you constantly running out of hot water—even after only a few minutes in the shower?

It’s one of the most common plumbing complaints we hear from Atlanta homeowners (especially in the winter).

This problem is usually caused from a lack of water heater maintenance.

Luckily, it has an easy fix.

But first, let’s talk about how a lack of maintenance causes this problem

How ignoring your water heater got you into this mess

When water falls to the ground as rain, it is mostly pure (although it can accumulate some dust from the air as it falls). Then, as it travels into the ground, it accumulates natural minerals and sediment. This is carried by the water all the way into your water heater.

(Yes, the water utilities filter many impurities out, but they mostly focus on those that are harmful to your health. Other minerals, such as iron, magnesium and calcium, get passed through.)

Once inside your water heater, this sediment builds up on the bottom of your water heater. Not only does this make your water heater less efficient, it decreases the capacity of your water heater if not cleaned out.

So that means there’s less room for hot water, and you run out of hot water more quickly.

The solution: flush your water heater

If you are constantly running out of hot water and you haven’t had your water heater maintained in years, flushing your water heater is most likely the solution. Basically, you empty the water heater and flush it with fresh water to get rid of the sediment.

Other possible causes

If a water heater flush doesn’t fix the problem, there are a few other things that could be causing your shortage of hot water including:

  • Small water heater – Your water heater might just be too small for your family. You can upgrade your water heater or carefully schedule showers and other chores so that no one has to take a cold shower.
  • Old water heater – There could be other parts malfunctioning on your water heater that are keeping it from properly heating your water.
  • Thermostat problems – No, not the thermostat on the wall. Your water heater has a thermostat that regulates the temperature of your hot water. It could be set too low or it could be malfunctioning.

These problems can be repaired by a professional plumbing company, or you can consider getting a brand-new water heater. If you choose the latter option and you use lots of hot water, a tankless water heater might be the best option.

Ragsdale Plumbing serves the Atlanta metro area. For more information, contact us.

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