When you turn on the hot water faucet, you expect hot water. In fact, you don’t really expect it, you just take it as a given. But if you wait for the water to heat up, and it only gets to “lukewarm,” then you may have a problem with your water heater.
Before we take a closer look at the water heater’s potential troubles, make sure the problem isn’t restricted to only one fixture. If only one fixture is experiencing the issue, the trouble is probably with the mixing valve of that fixture, and you can direct your plumber right to the source of the problem.
Reasons for Water Not Getting Hot Enough
There’s a range of potential problems, from minor to serious, that could be affecting the water heater.
- Aquastat set too low: The thermostat that controls the water temperature in the water heater is called the aquastat. It may have accidentally been set too low. Check to see if it’s lower than 120°F. You can raise the temperature to see if this fixes the problem, but please do not raise the temperature higher than 120°F, since this can create a scalding hazard.
- Broken dip tube: This trouble is common among heaters more than twenty years old. The dip tube is the tube carrying the incoming cold water down to the bottom of the tank where it is heated. In older water heaters, this tube could break, leading to cold water mixing at the top of the tank, where the water exits to enter the rest of the plumbing. A plumber can replace the dip tube, but a water heater this old should probably be replaced.
- Incorrectly sized water heater: If the water heater you have is a new one, lukewarm water may indicate the water heater was incorrectly sized when installed. This is a common consequence of allowing amateurs to install a water heater. You will probably need to have a new unit put in. This problem can apply to both tank and tankless water heaters.
- Failed heating element: This is an electric water heater-specific issue. Most electric water heaters have two heating elements in the tank. If one of them fails, the water temperature will drop significantly.
- Broken gas valve: This is the gas water heater equivalent of the above problem. As with any trouble with gas lines, only allow a licensed professional to handle the job.
- Dying water heater: You may have a water heater that’s too old to keep up with your household needs. A repair technician can tell you if it’s worthwhile to continue to fix the water heater or a new installation is the better long-term solution.
You can rely on our plumbers for service for your water heater in Corona, CA. We can fix your current water heater, or we can arrange to replace it if it’s too old. We work with storage tank, tankless, and heat pump water heaters, and we’ll make sure to match your house to the right type and size of water heater.