Hot Water Taking Too Long?

Your Guide to Improving Your Water Heater Recovery Time.

Most of us don’t pay much attention to the home’s hot water system…until we notice the hot water is taking a long time to become available. Who wants a cold shower? Who wants waste water by running it until the hot water finally shows up? At Ben Franklin Plumbing, we offer a few tips about what to do if you are living with this problem.

Water Heater Recovery Time – How Long Does It Take?

When your hot water heater is completely drained, the recovery time is defined as the quantity of hot water it can generate in one hour. There are two rates: one is manufacturer-rated for that model hot water heater and the other is the actual rate of recovery.

The factory rating for your heater is either on a label on the body of the heater or is easily found online by going to the manufacturers website and searching for your model. It will tell you the recovery in gallons per hour. Knowing the rate of recovery of your hot water heater model gives you a general idea of the condition of your heater and how to move forward with a solution.

For example:

  • If your heater is still performing to specifications, it might not be adequate for your household needs. You may need a larger heater, or you may need to use your hot water more strategically. For example, shorter showers or running the clothes washer at low demand times and not concurrently with showers or other hot water-intensive functions.
  • It can help you calculate what your true hot water needs are for your home. This is handy if you want to better allocate daily hot water activities or to shop for a new hot water heater.
  • If you typically use a lot of hot water at the same time – like many larger families do – your recovery rate should equal the full capacity of your heater. An 80-gallon heater should recover that volume in one hour.
  • If your heater has fallen below specs, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing can provide an expert diagnostic to determine if it can be brought up to speed with routine maintenance (such as flushing and clearing the lines) or repairs or if your best and most cost-effective solution is to buy a new heater.

Steps You Can Take To Your Improve Hot Water Recovery Rate on Your Existing Heater

  • Flush your gas-fired hot water heater. This removes sediment that interferes with the heat exchange to the water. Electric hot water heaters can be flushed too, but the results are not as pronounced.
  • If you live in seasonally cold areas, insulate the pipes that carry hot water to your appliances for better heat retention. The more the water temperature drops as it travels from the heater to the appliance or fixture, the harder and longer your heater must work to keep up with the demand. Often hot water lines travel through unheated spaces such as garages, basements or crawl spaces.
  • You can insulate the entire heater. We recommend buying a water heater insulation kit rather than simply wrapping it in fiberglass (although that can work too). They are simple and allow for venting and thermostat display and more convenient and last longer than wrapped fiberglass.

When Should You Call a Plumber: Water Heater Repair?

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing believes bringing in a skilled plumber to diagnose the condition of your hot water heater is a good idea right from the beginning.

  • Although it isn’t common, malfunctioning hot water heaters that can’t release pressure can turn into bomb rockets that explode and rocket up through ceilings, wreaking enormous damage to your walls and ceilings and foundation, as well as personal injury.
  • We check for dangerous gas leaks that could be touched off by the small ignition flame in the heater. A gas explosion can be devastating.
  • Our thorough inspection and analysis are based on a high degree of training and experience. We not only check the condition and age of your hot water heater, we evaluate its present ability to maintain factory specs. We also check to see if your heater can create, maintain and release pressure as it was designed to. Through all of this, we strive to remedy your hot water problems with the simplest and most cost-effective solutions possible.

Which is Better, Tank or Tankless Water Heating?

The real question is, which is more practical for your specific needs?

  • If you already have a gas hot water heater, it makes a lot of sense to stick with that system and either repair the heater or upgrade to a new and larger capacity one. The gas, plumbing and vent connections are already in place so there is little additional work needing to be done.
  • Both gas and electric storage water heaters last about 10-15 years depending upon the condition of your pipes, the quality of the water and the amount of use your heater gets.
  • Most tankless water heaters can last more than 20 years and have easily replaceable parts that can extend that life much longer.
  • Tankless water heaters are more expensive than a tank heater. Costs to install it, including rewiring a portion of the house and adding an exclusive electrical circuit should be evaluated when making your decision, and we can help.
  • Tankless heaters are optimized by installing them close to the appliances that are heavily used. This will incur some redesign of the areas where these appliances are used. A tankless heater heats water as it is used without storing any volume. They can work in tandem with electric water heaters, but if your current heater needs replacement, it is worth considering tankless – you will never run out of hot water.

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Can Help

If your hot water heater only recently started to slow its hot water replenishment rate, chances are we can provide a routine service and get you back to normal in no time. We also have a strong reputation for our access to the most efficient and aesthetic appliances in the plumbing field. If you need to upgrade, we offer our customers the best of in new plumbing technology and can help you have as much hot water as your family needs.