Here’s Why Hot Water Takes So Long To Reach Your Faucets (and What You Can Do About It)

You know the exercise: turn on the shower – and wait. Turn on the sink – and wait. So frustrating! Why on earth does the water take so long to warm up?

Waiting for hot water not only costs you patience, it also costs you money on water and energy. Here’s what could happen and how the pros would fix it.

Why does it take so long for the water to get hot?

Actually, it’s a basic principle: when you turn on the hot water tap, the water sitting in the pipes must be pushed out of the water heater by the new hot water, says Mike Mushinski, President of Bluefrog Plumbing and Drain. Ideally, this process doesn’t take too long, but sometimes it hits a snag.

Here are some factors that determine how quickly (or not) hot water gets to your faucet:

  • Distance: This is how far the water has to get from the water heater to the tap. “Hot water has to go from the source to every tap as soon as the hot water is turned on. Depending on where that source is located, it can take some time to get there,” says Mushinski.
  • Volume limiter: Some faucets and shower heads have a device that restricts flow to save water and energy. The problem is not the throttle itself, but when there is a problem with hot water, e.g. B. a long distance from the water heater to the tap, this can lead to an even longer waiting time.
  • Pipe size: The speed at which hot water can flow out of the faucet also depends on the size of your pipes. “The smaller the pipe diameter, the faster hot water will flow through the pipes. If you have a larger pipe, the water in it will cool down and it will take longer for hot water to pass through,” says Tonya Brown, CEO of To Do-Done.
  • Age of the water heater: The lifespan of a conventional water heater is eight to 10 years. Also, as you age, it may not heat the water – or worse, stop suddenly, usually when you’re in the shower, before you rinse off the soap!
  • Sediment formation: A crispy layer of dissolved minerals like calcium and magnesium will settle at the bottom of the tank where the heating element or gas burner is located and block the heating element. Water heaters should be flushed once a year. You can do it yourself or call a plumber.
  • Hot water supply: This doesn’t happen that often, but if all family members shower at the same time, you may be using all of the hot water supply in your home. The average 80-gallon water heater can take up to an hour to drain hot water again.

DIY shortcuts to get hot water faster

Depending on the scope of the problem, there are two things you can try to get hot water faster before calling a plumber.

  • Insulate hot water pipes: The insulation keeps the standby water warmer when needed, which can shorten the waiting time for hot water. According to, insulating hot water pipes with pipe sleeves or fiberglass pipe sheathing reduces heat loss and increases the temperature by 2 to 4 degrees compared to uninsulated pipes. Find out how to do it.
  • Insulate the water heater: Water heaters use more energy than all of the other devices in your home combined and account for 17% of your home’s total energy consumption, says If your water heater works harder to keep the water hot, it will cost you more money. There’s an easy way to test if your water heater needs insulation, says Bruin: touch it. If the outside of the water heater is warm, it is advisable to get insulation for it. A water heater ceiling can reduce heat loss on standby by 25% to 45%, not to mention the 7% to 16% you can save on annual heating bills.

Things a Professional Plumber Can Do

If your water heater is not old and the insulation of the water heater and pipes did not help, you should seek help from a professional. A good plumber will check the entire system and correctly install all the necessary equipment. Bruin recommends two affordable options:

  • Circulation pump: According to Mushinski, the most practical solution is to install a circulation pump on your water heater. “This can cut the waiting time for hot water at the tap by up to 80%. It works by returning the water in the hot water line to the water heater after it has cooled down so that it can be replaced with hot water.” Water, “says Mushinski. You can choose a circulation pump that is mounted near a faucet or a circulation pump that is attached to the water heater.
  • Point-of-use water heater: If there is only one tap that needs hot water immediately, an on-site water heater is a good solution. This smaller unit installs near designated fixtures and uses an electric heater or gas burner to heat water. It is ideal for faucets that are far from the main water heater.

The post Here’s Why Hot Water Takes So Long To Reach Your Faucets (And What To Do About It) first appeared on Real Estate News & Insights |®.

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