One of the most frequently asked questions that we hear from Bay Area homeowners is, “Why does my shower run out of hot water so fast?” This is a great question, and today we’re going to talk about some of the most likely answers!

First, determine whether or not this is a new problem

The first step toward figuring out why your shower runs out of hot water so fast is to determine whether or not this is a new problem. If your showers have always been short on hot water, feel free to move on to the next section.

If your showers just recently started running out of hot water too quickly, and your family has not changed their water-consumption habits, contact Cabrillo. There could be an issue with your water heater (such as a broken dip tube or failing thermocouple) that is preventing your unit from heating water properly. These problems are best handled by a professional plumber.

Why does my shower run out of hot water so fast?

  • Water heater is too small. The most likely reason for your showers running out of hot water too fast is that your water heater is too small for your home’s demands. Standard water heaters come in different sizes based on their “first hour rating.” This rating describes how many gallons of hot water a unit can produce in one hour. In order for your water heater to meet your home’s demands, its first hour rating must be close to your home’s peak hour demand. You can estimate your family’s peak hour demand using the worksheet on this page. If you think you might need a larger water heater, or if you’d like the opinion of a professional plumber, contact Cabrillo!
  • Too many appliances using hot water simultaneously. If you consistently take showers while other water-using appliances are running, those appliances will consume much of the available hot water for your shower. In order to avoid this, you’ll either need to shower when those appliances are not running or factor in those appliances when calculating your home’s peak hour demand.
  • Sediment buildup. In homes with hard water, sediment builds up on the bottom of the water heater’s tank over time. In severe cases, this sediment can build up so much that it reduces the amount of space that’s available for hot water in your tank. This is a problem that can be solved by having your water heater periodically flushed.

Consider the tankless water heater option

One solution to the lack of hot water problem is to install a tankless water heater. Instead of using a tank with a specific storage size, tankless water heaters heat water on-demand whenever you need them. Be sure to talk with the experts at Cabrillo to determine whether or not a tankless system is right for your home!

If you have any questions about why your shower runs out of hot water so fast, or if you’d like a plumbing system serviced or installed in your home, contact Cabrillo, your Bay Area plumbing, heating and air conditioning contractor.