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What Causes a Shower to Lose Hot Water

shower losing hot waterMany people enjoy a good, hot shower. However, that enjoyment is short-lived when the water becomes cold. When the shower suddenly grows cold, it is chilling and irritating, to say the least. Other times, the water never gets hot, despite the thermostat setting on the water heater.

The tank-type hot water heater utilizes technology that produces a certain amount of hot water depending on the size of the storage tank. Cold water is brought into the tank by way of a dip tube located inside of the storage tank. The water is then heated by a gas burner or electric element.

There are several possible reasons, or a combination of factors, why a shower loses hot water. The place to begin tracing the reason is with the hot water tank and its functionality.

The loss of hot water may be the result of:
-rust, sediments and other debris in the pipe system
-clogged shower head
-low water pressure
-the water heater needs flushing out or replacement
-hot water in the storage tank capacity is reached
-others using the hot water at the same time

Debris in the pipe system is usually the result of erosion. Rust and other sediments can cause problems such as clogged pipes throughout the water system. A clogged pipe reduces or stops the flow of water, thereby, restricting the hot water stream to the shower.

Over time, the water heater tank can become clogged as well. Older water heaters could operate with lower pressure. The incoming pressure will determine the out-flow of water. When the water tank is not operating efficiently, the cold water flow will overcome any hot water flowing in the system.

Sometimes, the hot water tank can be flushed out. However, this could agitate weak areas in the pipes. Rust and other sediments will break lose, resulting in a clogged shower head and other fixtures. Simply flushing out the water heater may not solve the problem. In such cases, it will need replacing.

The pressure to the shower should be as strong as the water coming into the water heater. If it is not, there is probably a problem with the water heater itself or with the flow leading into the storage tank. When the water is heated it becomes available for use in other parts of the building.

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