The Importance of Your Water Heater 


You may be unaware of how much you rely on your water heater.  Its importance in your daily life is all-encompassing – from having a nice, hot shower in the morning to being able to bleach your whites in hot water to soaking a messy pan in hot water.  Because of its daily use in your life, we wanted to share with you these tips and tricks for water heaters. What they do, how they run out of hot water, and how to adjust their temperature setting.

What Does a Water Heater Do?

If you guessed that it heats your water, then you get the gold star!  We realize this question may have seemed extremely simple.  However, we do tend to take it for granted that when we flip on the hot water handle of the sink or shower, hot water will come out.  We don’t necessarily think about how it works or what to do if we run out of hot water.  It’s time to learn a little bit more about that magical tank in the garage!

A water heater is a large tank that holds approximately 40-60 gallons of water.  This water comes from the main water source for the house (city water or well water).  The tank contains a heating element and a thermostat (among other parts).  Your water heater’s job is to heat the cold water it takes into the desired temperature that is set on the thermostat.  Then, when you flip on a hot water valve on a sink or shower, run the dishwasher, or run a hot cycle on the washing machine, your water heater provides the hot water that it has been storing.

How Does a Water Heater Run Out of Hot Water?

If you’ve ever been last in line for the shower, then you have probably experienced a lukewarm or even cold shower.  How does a water heater run out of hot water?  The hot water in the water heater rises to the top where it is dispensed into the house.  But, the hottest water it can hold at a time is limited by the size of the water heater.  According to an article by Harvard University, the EPA estimates that an individual uses approximately 20 gallons of water per shower.  So, if your water heater holds 60 gallons and you are fourth in line for the shower, then chances are that the 60 gallons of heated water have been used.  Water will still come out of the showerhead when you turn the hot water handle, but it hasn’t had time to heat.  If you can spare a little time, let the water heater do its job, then come back in a little bit for a nice, hot shower.

How Do I Adjust the Temperature of My Hot Water?

This is an important question.  You want water that is hot enough to disinfect dirty dishes and clothes, but not so hot that it is dangerous for little ones taking a bath.  The good news is that the temperature of your water heater is adjustable.  Generally, a water heater can be adjusted to temperatures between 120 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit.  The recommended range is generally 120 to 140 degrees.  If you have little ones at home, it is recommended to set the thermostat at the lower end of the range.  You will still have hot water without a scalding risk.

If your temperature dial does not have markings for degrees (many do not), you can run your hot water in the house for a couple of minutes, fill a glass, and check the temperature.  Then, adjust the dial as needed.  This may take a couple of attempts, but once you have the temperature that you want, you may want to make a mark on the dial with a permanent marker for future reference.

Sun Plumbing Can Meet All Your Water Heater Needs!

For all of your plumbing needs near Palm Bay, Melbourne, Viera, or elsewhere in Brevard County choose Sun Plumbing! With over 45 years in the plumbing business, we pride ourselves on being as “dependable as the sun”.  A cold shower may feel good once in a while but not every day!  If you are in need of a water heater repair, a water heater replacement, or simply need help adjusting your water heater temperature, then give us a call.  We are proud to serve our community and look forward to meeting all your hot water needs!

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