When it's cold outside, taking a hot shower or bath can be comforting. If you notice the hot water flowing into your home isn't as warm as it should be, though, you may be wondering whether to turn up the thermostat or call a plumber. Depending on the problem, neither may be necessary. Here are two reasons why your hot water heater is producing lukewarm results.
The Tank and Pipes are Exposed to the Cold
It's common for water heaters to be placed in the basement or in a room off the garage to keep the appliance out of the way. While placing the tank in these areas can minimize collateral damage if something breaks, it also exposes the appliance to a cold environment that directly affects the temperature of the water it contains.
When the area around the water heater is cold, the water entering the tank is chillier than usual. This forces the appliance to work harder to warm up the water, which can take longer than normal. However, the water is constantly being drained by household use, so the tank is continuously being filled with extra cold water which reduces the overall temperature of the water already inside. Your water heater will be particularly vulnerable to this issue if the plumbing pipes are exposed to the elements.
There are a few ways to mitigate this problem. If your pipes are exposed, wrap them in insulation. This will reduce the impact the cold weather has on the temperature of the water running through them. You may also want to consider insulating your water heater as well for the same reason.
You should also check the area where the heater is stored and eliminate issues that may be lowering the ambient temperature. For instance, caulk the basement windows to prevent drafts. Use weather-stripping on the door to the utility room to prevent cold air from leaking into the space. Any way you can reduce the impact of the surrounding cold air on your plumbing system will help your water heater operate more efficiently.
There is Sediment in the Tank
Another reason the hot water tank may be producing lukewarm water is because there is sediment in the tank. In areas with hard water, the heat in the tank causes some of the minerals in the water to separate from the liquid and settle in the tank. Over time, this sediment builds up and begins to suck the warmth from the water in the tank.
This means your water heater has to work twice as hard to get the water to the correct temperature. Additionally, this sediment can damage heating elements, anodes, and other parts in the appliance that reduce the machine's efficiency.
If you've never flushed out your water heater, that's the first thing you should do. If the heater is still having trouble getting water hot enough, contact a plumbing expert to check the equipment for damaged parts and replace as necessary.
For help with your water heater problems, contact a plumber, such as the professionals at First Class Plumbing of Florida Inc.