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Tips To Help You Fix A Hot Water Deficiency In Your Home

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You depend upon your home's water heater for heating water to use in in your home every day. When your hot water heater isn't providing enough water to supply your family's needs, there may be several different reasons for it. Here are some tips that can help you fix your home's lack of hot water supply.

Make Sure You Have the Right Size of Water Heater

One reason your water heater may not be providing enough hot water for your family's needs is because your water heater is not large enough to supply all your home's fixtures. Make sure you are not overworking your home's water heater capacity. Your water heater should have 75 percent of its capacity as hot water. For example, if your water heater has a 50 gallon tank, your home's hot water needs should be no more than 37.5 gallons per minute. You can learn to calculate your home's hot water needs later in this article.

Calculate the Flow Rate of Older Fixtures

The Federal Energy Policy Act of 1992 required all faucets and shower fixtures made in the United States to have a flow rate of 2.2 gallons per minute or less at 60 PSI. If your home's fixtures were installed in your home before 1992, they most likely have a heavy water flow. For this reason, you may need to calculate their water flow yourself so you can figure your home's hot water needs accurately.

To measure the flow rate, turn on a faucet at a normal-use position and place a gallon-sized container under the flow to catch the water for ten seconds. Measure the height of the water in the bucket and calculate how many gallons of water you collected. Then, multiply the gallon amount by six to determine the amount of gallons per minute. For example, if you filled the container 1/3 of the way full, you collected .33 gallons and 0.33 x 6 equals 1.98 gallons per minute.

Measure Your Home's Hot Water Needs

Now you can calculate your home's hot water needs by adding up the flow of all your home's hot water-using fixtures. For example, if you have two showers in your home, add them both in the total. Then, make sure it does not exceed 75 percent of your hot water heater's capacity. If it is above 75 percent, you should consider buying a larger-capacity water heater. 

To help with calculating, use the following measurements: 

  • A bathroom faucet uses 0.5 to 1.5 gallons per minute, but if it was made before 1992 it may use 3-5 gallons per minute.
  • A kitchen sink uses approximately 1.5 gallons per minute, but if the faucet was made before 1992 it can use anywhere from 3-7 gallons per minute.
  • A bathroom shower built before 1992 can use between 4-8 gallons per minute, but after 1992, it may use between 1-2 gallons per minute.
  • A bathtub faucet can use approximately 4 gallons per minute.
  • An average washing machine will use 2 gallons per minute.
  • A dishwasher will use approximately 1.5 gallons per minute. 

Adjust the Temperature on Your Water Heater

If you have made sure your hot water can supply water to meet the needs of all your home's fixtures and faucets, but you still do not have enough water, you may need to raise your water heater's temperature. The Department of Energy recommends setting your water heater at 120 degrees F. This temperature is a safe temperature for most homes, but if this is not giving you enough hot water, turn it up five to ten degrees. Then over the next few days see if this adjustment corrects the deficiency for you. If you still don't have enough hot water, turn the temperature up a bit more. 

Keep in mind if you have a suppressed immune system or chronic respiratory disease, it is recommended to keep your water heater set at 140 degrees F. But if you have young children or elderly living in your home, this higher temperature can create a scalding risk. Take this into consideration when raising the temperature of your water heater.

These tips can help you fix any deficiency in your home's hot water supply. You can also contact a professional, such as H.R. Stewart Inc., for more information.