Denver Water Heater Tips – More Hot Water

Why does my hot water run out so quickly when I shower?

You could be experiencing one or more of several potential problems:

First check the shower head volume. A newer shower head will put out about 2.5 gallons a minute. Older heads put out as much as 5 gallons a minute. Replacing the shower head would double shower length in this case.

In some cases, the water heater dip tube on the cold water inlet has broken or worn out. If this has happened, it creates a short loop for the water. The water at the bottom half of the tank will not be circulated and thus, not used.

Electric water heaters commonly have two heating elements that work in turns and you may have one or both heating elements out. First, the top element heats up the top of the tank, then power goes to the lower element. If the lower element is out, only the top of the tank gets heated. If the top element isn’t working, there will be no hot water. Find and push the reset button which may get the elements heating again. If not, the elements or the entire water heater may need to be replaced.

Are all electric hot water heater elements the same?

There are three types: screw in, bolt in and clamp in. They all have different wattage ratings and can work on either 120 or 240 voltage.

There is water leaking from my water heater. What’s the cause?

There are three common causes of leaky water heaters: Pressure Relief Valve, Bad Heating Element Gasket, or Rusted Out Tank. If the pressure relief valve is leaking, try operating the valve to see if it will stop or it also might need tightening. If the gasket around the heating element has gone bad it will need to be replaced. Finally, if the tank is rusted out, the water heater will need to be replaced.

What size water heater should I buy?

Usually people base their water heater purchase on the size of the storage tank. A better method is to first estimate how much hot water you will need during the peak hour of use. This is referred to as the first-hour rating (FHR) on the Energy Guide label posted on new water heaters.

Typical hot water use is:

  • Showering 3 gallons/minute
  • Bathing 15-25 gallons per bath
  • Shaving 1-3 gallons
  • Washing hands 1/2-2 gallons
  • Washing dishes 4-6 gallons
  • Running dishwasher 5-20 gallons
  • Running clothes washer 25-40 gallons
  • Cleaning house 5-12 gallons
  • Food preparation 1-6 gallons

Add up your family’s typical daily FHR and choose your water heater based on that information.

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