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Why Do I Run Out Of Hot Water In The Shower?

Tired of having your relaxing showers cut short because the water quickly turns cold?

We’ll help you get to the bottom of this frustrating plumbing problem.

If your shower is running out of hot water, it’s likely due to one of the following problems:

Let’s look at each of these issues in more detail below.

Need help from a trusted plumber?

Our plumbers can quickly find what’s causing your water to run out of hot water and recommend a solution. When you hire Michael & Son, you can count on exceptional customer service and a repair that’s done right—the first time.

Problem #1: Malfunctioning thermostat

Your water heater has a thermostat that controls the temperature of the hot water. If the thermostat is set incorrectly or if it’s malfunctioning, that could explain why you run out of hot water in the shower.

Solution: Check the temperature on the thermostat and make sure it’s set to 120° F. If the thermostat is already set to that temperature and you’re still running out of hot water in the shower, the thermostat itself could be faulty. You’ll want to contact a professional to inspect the thermostat to make sure it’s working properly and check for the other problems listed below.

Problem #2: Broken dip tube

Do you quickly run out of hot water in the shower?

If so, the culprit could be a broken dip tube. The dip tube is responsible for pushing cold water that enters the top of the tank to the bottom of the tank, where it can be heated.

However, if the dip tube breaks or becomes disconnected, the cold water will mix with the hot water at the top of the tank, which lowers the temperature of the water that comes out of the showerhead.

Solution: Contact a plumber to inspect the dip tube and make sure it is intact and properly connected to the cold water inlet pipe.

Problem #3: Sediment buildup in the tank

“Sediment buildup” refers to a thick layer of minerals that settle on the bottom of your water heater tank over time. It’s problematic for two main reasons:

  1. Severe sediment buildup takes up space in the tank, decreasing the available amount of hot water the heater can produce.
  2. Sediment buildup can insulate the burners or lower heating element, which prevents your water heater from properly heating the water. This could explain why you’re running out of hot water in the shower.

Solution: You’ll want to contact a plumber to flush the tank, which should remove a significant amount of sediment buildup. In areas with hard water, it’s especially important to have a plumber regularly flush your water heater to prevent extreme sediment buildup in the tank.

Problem #4: Undersized water heater

One possible explanation for the lack of hot water in the shower could be that your water heater is undersized. An undersized water heater will constantly struggle to supply enough hot water to your plumbing fixtures and appliances.

Do one of the following situations apply to you?

  1. You recently had a new water heater installed. If so, it may not have been sized correctly by the professional who installed it.
  2. The number of people living in your home recently increased. Because of the increased hot water demand, your current water heater may not be able to supply an adequate amount of hot water.

If one of the situations above applies to you and you’re running out of hot water, it could mean your current water heater is too small for your home.

Solution: Contact a plumbing expert to help you calculate the correct size water heater for your home.

Learn more about how water heaters are sized by reading our blog, “What Size Water Heater Do I Need?

Problem #5: Water heater is too old

As water heaters age, they slowly provide less and less hot water until they finally stop working altogether. You may be running out of hot water simply because your water heater is too old.

Solution: If your water heater is 12+ years old, it’s time to contact a professional for a quote to install a new one. Not only will you enjoy more hot water, but you’ll also reduce your energy bill by choosing a new, more energy-efficient water heater.

Need a water heater repair from a trusted plumber?

We offer 24/7 emergency service and our plumbers complete 99% of repairs the same day. When you hire Michael & Son, you can count on exceptional customer service and a repair that’s done right—the first time.