Why do I run out of Hot water after only five minutes in the shower?
There are a few deferent reasons why you may run out of hot water too fast.
The first thing To consider is, did you or some one else in the house use it up, by running the washing machine, or the dishwasher, or taking a shower in another bathroom, or taking one just before you?
If this is the only time you have a problem with hot water, you may simply need a larger water heater or one with a higher output.
In some states or towns, plumbers install mixing valves on the water line going to the toilets to prevent the toilet tanks from sweating.
They allow a little hot water to mix with the cold, to raise the temperature of the water in the toilet tank.
If you have one of these valves installed in your home, you use some hot water every time you flush.
If you have a toilet that runs, you will use a large amount of hot water, and may not have enough left to shower. See Why do I have Hot water in my Toilet.
Hot water coils on boilers:
A common problem people have with this type of hot water maker is, if they take a shower they have enough hot water, but if they want to fill up the tub, there is not enough hot water.
The reason for this is the coil is designed to heat the water at a slow flow rate, most shower heads and other faucets have built in flow restrictors but the tub spout does not.
To fill a tub when you have this problem, only turn on the hot water half way.
Other problems with coils.
They clog up from hard water and the flow or
pressure is never good enough.
The best thing to do is get an indirect water heater that works off your boiler.
Electric water heaters have a slow recovery.
This means once you use all the hot water it has stored, it takes up to an hour to reheat the water.
However this might not be the only problem.
Most electric waters have two elements and two thermostats, an upper and a lower.
If the lower element burns out, only the upper will be working, and you will only have about 1 third of the heaters full capacity of hot water. DANGER SEE DISCLAIMER Or Call a pro.
On most electric water heaters if the upper element or thermostat burn out you will have no hot water at all.
For a full explanation of how an electric water heater works and for troubleshooting an electric water heater please click here
The dip tube.
In all types of water heaters, there is a need to force the cold water to the bottom of the tank.
Hot water comes out of the top of the tank, so water heaters with water inlets on the top, need a dip tube.
Some water heaters have inlets on the bottom of the tank so no dip tube is needed.
A dip tube is a plastic tube that runs inside the water heater.
Many times this tube will break off in the water heater causing the cold water to bypass the hot water in the tank, and you get only about 5 minutes of hot water.
A number of years ago there was a defective dip tube on the market and many water heater manufactures used them, There was a recall.
I believe that they should all have been replaced by now.