Just about everyone has felt the effects of running out of hot water in their homes. It’s never a pleasant experience, and while you usually just have to wait a while before your water heats back up again, it’s good to know exactly why you occasionally get stuck taking cold showers.
If you have a large family and you’re using too many hot water appliances at once, you’re just physically running out of hot water in your water heater tank. The tank will refill in time and the water will heat up again, but you’re simply going through too much hot water at once. This can be solved by either getting a bigger tank or making an effort to conserve your hot water.
If you find that your water gets cold too quickly and doesn’t come back, the culprit is usually one of two issues: either you have a broken dip tube or you have sediment in your hot water tank. The dip tube shoots cold water into the bottom of the water heater tank so it can heat up. If this is broken, water will fill right up to the top of the tank where it flows into your plumbing before it has the chance to heat up. You might have a broken dip tube if you’ve been seeing bits of plastic in your appliance filter screens or in your shower head. Fortunately, the dip tube can be replaced fairly easily.