Hot Water Not Hot Enough: Common Problems and How to Fix Them

Hot Water Not Hot Enough: Common Problems and How to Fix Them

Anthony Barnes

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 Hot water is essential for our daily lives. It heats up food, makes tea, and even helps us relax after a long day at work.

During the summer, if the water isn’t heating up correctly, we will power through and have shorter and colder showers. 

Yet when winter comes, you notice the issues with your water not being hot enough, and you can’t as easily ignore them.

No one wants to have to face a cold shower first thing in the morning on a cold winter’s day.

There may be a couple of reasons as to why your water isn’t heating to as hot as it should be.

There are some common troubleshooting methods that can help fix the majority of these issues. 

In this article, we will discover why your hot water isn’t hot enough.

While also uncovering common problems and how you can fix them. So, keep on reading!

Start With Your Thermostat

It doesn’t matter whether you have a tankless, gas or electric heater.

Problems can begin to occur, and your water will begin to get as hot as it should be. 

Therefore, it may seem obvious, but if you are starting to see issues with your water not getting hot enough, then you can start off by simply going to your water tank and adjusting the thermostat.

This adjustment should then cause a change in the temperature of the water. 

It is common for a lot of people to actually turn the temperature of the thermostat down in the summer.

This is because you don’t need the water to be as hot, and you also are saving energy that isn’t needed.

Therefore, it is easy to fix this issue, if you have turned it down.

Just remember to turn it back up once the colder months begin to come in. 

However, you shouldn’t be setting your thermostat higher than 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Otherwise, you will be setting the temperature too high, which will make the water itself too hot to be able to handle or withstand.

This can lead to serious burns or scalding when you do come to use the water which has been overheated. 

However, if after you turn the thermostat up and still notice that the water hasn’t increased in its temperature, then you can assume that the thermostat is at fault.

If you discover that your thermostat is faulty, then you will need to replace it. To do this, you must call a professional.

Other Issues Which Causes Lukewarm Water

If you do what we have suggested above, and you’re still facing lukewarm water, then there may be another problem with your heat.

Below we have together some of the most common issues that people have faced with their heater which has caused them to face lukewarm water. 

On a side note, some of these issues include heaters with water tanks.

If you have a tankless heater then you can skip these issues as they don’t apply to you. 

Dip Tub Is Broken

A dip tube is often seen in a water tank. The aim of this device is to push the cold water towards the bottom of the tank.

This is because the water is being heated at the bottom of the tank.

This way, all the water gets to be heated correctly and pushed where it needs to be. 

The water that comes out of appliances and faucets comes from the top, where there is a hot layer.

As a result, if the water hasn’t been circulated properly, then the water may come out lukewarm or even cold, as not all the water has been circulated to the heater to get hot. 

So, you need to make sure that your dip tube is always working.

If it is, then you will always have reliable hot water that has been well circulated.

Although, it is known that a dip tube can crack over time.

If this does happen, then lukewarm water commonly enters the pipe system.

Then it doesn’t become hot enough when it is needed for a shower or out of a faucet (see also our guide to fixing a shower faucet that won’t turn off).

This is only really an issue for water heaters that are more than 20 years old. 

Gas Valve Is Broken

Gas Valve Is Broken

Once your water heater is over 10 years old, it is common for your gas valve to become more prone to damage.

This is especially true if the water heater hasn’t been well looked after and received regular maintenance over those 10 years. 

A noticeable sign that something is wrong is that you should be able to smell garbage or rotten eggs.

This is a sign of gas due to either a leak in the gas line or a broken gas valve.

If something has broken, then the gas is not making its way to the heater, thus it then isn’t heating the water properly.

Which is then causing you to have cold to lukewarm water. 

A gas leak is very dangerous and if you notice this then you need to get it repaired immediately.

There is a chance that maybe certain elements will need to be replaced.

However, if you smell gas, you should immediately turn the gas off and call your plumber or gas company.

Never try to solve this issue by yourself at home, you need a professional. 

The Internal Heating Element Is Broken

For electric water, it is known that they have two heating elements.

Therefore, if one isn’t working, then the other will have to work twice as hard.

As a result, this can cause the heating system to be much less efficient. Thus, the water won’t be as hot as you want it to be.

Although, if you notice that the water is always lukewarm, then this suggests that there is an issue with the upper heating element.

However, if you notice a short supply of hot water, this then indicates that there is an issue with the lower heating system instead.

The best way to combat this issue is to carry out regular maintenance checks on your electric heater.

This will stop any damage or issues developing over time.

However, if you do notice this problem, then you should hire a professional to test and tune and possibly replace any of the fault heating elements that is causing the problem. 

Sediment Build Up

The water in your water tank is never 100% pure. Hard/Calgary water contains lots of dissolved minerals, debris, and sand particles.

All of this will fall to the bottom of your water tank. Yet, this is the place where your water needs to be heated up.

As time goes by, sediment will build up, which will cause the heater to heat your water slower or with less efficiency.

This then results in lukewarm water. The way to solve the issue is by draining the water and using a water softener to stop this build up occurring. 

Water Tank Leaking

You may discover that your water tank is leaking. In this case, you shouldn’t try to fix this issue yourself, as it can lead to more damage or dangerous situations.

Instead, once you notice a leak, a professional will come and fix the problem for you. 

When Should You Replace A Water Heater? 

In some cases, you don’t always need to replace your entire water heater.

There are some quick fixes like a new dip tube that can help fix your lukewarm problem. 

Although, if your water tank is over 8 years old, then it is starting to get tired and old.

However, if you keep your water heater well looked after with regular maintenance checks, then you should minimize any damaged parts.

However, it is likely at some point you may suffer with a damaged thermostat, but these are easily replaced. 

If you have an issue with your water heater, then you should contact a plumber who will be able to tell you what the issue is.

They will also be able to get the parts and replace your heat for you.

Sometimes you may think that there is an issue with your water heater, but it could also be that the heater isn’t big enough for the consumption that is needed.

If you take a shower and then go to use another hot water appliance and discover the water runs cold, then this is a sign the heater isn’t big enough for the household. 

Conclusion

In this article, we have discussed everything about why your hot water isn’t getting hot enough.

It could be a fault thermostat, build up of sediment or a faulty dip tube.

Now you will be able to identify issues and know how to solve them regarding your water heater. 

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By Anthony Barnes

Anthony Barnes is the founder of Water Heater Hub and a second-generation plumber by profession. Before developing Water Heater Hub, Anthony Barnes was a full-time plumber, and he has undertaken a wide variety of projects over the decades. As a second-generation plumber, it was easy for Anthony to get used to the technicalities of all from a tender age