A fully functional water heater should deliver the specified volume of water it’s designed to provide at the desired temperature setting—no matter what season of the year it happens to be. However, some homeowners report that their water heater under-performs, temperature-wise, particularly during the chilly winter months.
If you find you’re not getting the steamy hot water you look forward to—particularly during the coldest part of winter—here are some possible explanations:
Thermostat setting is too low.
Because water coming into the house from the municipal water lines is substantially colder in winter, the standard summer thermostat setting on the heater may be too low. For safety reasons to avoid scalding, 120 degrees is the usual setting. Try increasing the thermostat setting by just 5 to 10 degrees and see if water temperature improves. Don’t increase the temperature any more than that and test the hot water coming out of distant faucets in the house to make sure it will not scald.
Excessive tank heat loss.
While the unit’s on standby and the burner isn’t lit, water in the storage tank may lose heat rapidly—particularly if the heater is installed in a cold room or other unheated location. Insulation jackets sized for specific water heaters can be wrapped around the unit to help preserve heat in the tank. Also, place a foam pipe insulation sleeve on the exposed span of the hot water pipe leaving the water heater.
Minerals present in hard water, usually calcium carbonate, gradually accumulate in the bottom of the heater tank. While these minerals pose no health threat, over time, the layer of sediment in the tank may inhibit effective heating by the burner. Water heaters should be regularly flushed—twice a year is best—to remove sediment and restore proper heating function.
For professional service to resolve water heater problems including low temperature issues, contact the plumbing experts at Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Brownsburg, Indiana and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).