Hot Water Not Hot Enough? Look at These 5 Potential Culprits

You've turned on the hot water tap, but unfortunately, the water coming out isn't as warm as you would like. Whether you're washing clothes, using the dishwasher or settling into the bathtub, you deserve water that is actually hot. There can be a number of culprits for cool water.

Here are some of the potential issues to consider:

1. Is the Hot Water Tank Getting Power?

It takes energy for the hot water tank to work. If the water is ice cold, the tank may not have power. If you have an electric tank, make sure that the circuit breaker isn't off. If your tank is powered by natural gas or propane, make sure that the pilot light is lit and that there is propane in your tank.

2. Is the Hot Water Tank Being Over Used?

If you've already done several loads of laundry on hot, ran the dishwasher or used hot water in other applications, your tank may just need some time to heat up the next batch of water. Wait an hour or so and check again. If this is a persistent problem, you may want to trade in your tank for another solution.

An electrician can help you set up point-of-use heaters. Those are basically tiny hot water heaters that heat the water right before you use it. They get installed next to showers, sinks and other water taps.

3. Does the Tank Need to Be Turned Up?

You can adjust the heating levels on your hot water tank. Most tanks have a knob that you simply need to turn. If you do that, be careful of scalding. The water that comes from the tap may be exceptionally hot. Also, note that you will use more energy if you turn up your tank.

4. Does the Tank Need More Insulation?

In other cases, the tank may heat up the water just fine, but it may lose heat whilst it's sitting there. If you suspect that's the issue, you may want to add insulation to the tank. There are hot water heater "blankets" designed just for that purposes. You can also insulate the hot water pipes that carry water from the tank to your taps.

5. Is the Hot Water Tank Malfunctioning?

Finally, the issue may be a malfunctioning tank, and you may need to contact a hot water maintenance professional. For example, the drip tube which feeds cold water into the tank may be broken. It's supposed to put the cold water in at the bottom, but if it's accidentally putting it in at the top, you may get cool water from your hot water taps. Contact a hot water maintenance expert to help you diagnose the issue.