Once you use up all the hot water in your hot water storage tank, you need to give the unit time to reheat the water. Some water heaters take around one hour to reheat all the spent water, while others take two hours or longer. When a hot water system takes longer than usual to recover, a shortage of hot water occurs, especially if the demand is high. Unfortunately, slow recovery isn't a normal phenomenon. If your electric water heater is taking too long to fully recover, look out for these four issues.
Mineral Deposits in the Tank
Hard or unfiltered water contains mineral deposits. Over time, the minerals can build up at the bottom of your water heater and coat the heating elements. This buildup acts as insulation and prevents heat transfer from the heating element to the water. Consequently, the unit takes longer to heat water. If you try to access hot water shortly after it runs out, the available hot water will be inadequate for use. You must flush and clean the hot water tank to improve its recovery rate.
Damaged Heating Element
Dual-element water heaters come with two heating elements—one at the bottom of the tank and another near the top. The heating elements have individual thermostats that control their operation. If one of the heating elements is faulty, the other will have to work harder to heat the water to the pre-set temperature. Consequently, the water heater will take longer than it usually does to recover. Replace the damaged heating element to restore the unit's efficiency and recovery rate.
As aforementioned, dual-element water heaters have two thermostats. Each thermostat controls an individual heating element. Therefore, if one thermostat is faulty, it won't signal its heating element to turn on for water heating. As a result, the water heater will rely on one heating element, leading to slower recovery and inadequate hot water. Repair the faulty thermostat to restore the operation of the affected heating element.
Broken Dip Tube
A dip tube is an inlet pipe that runs all the way to the bottom of the tank. Its role is to introduce cold water into the tank for heating. Once cold water is heated at the bottom of the tank, it rises to the top, and the cycle continues until the pre-set temperature is attained. If the tube is broken, it will cause cold water to mix with the hot water at the top, reducing its temperature. Therefore, if your water heater is producing lukewarm water, check and repair the broken dip tube.
If your electric water heater is taking too long to recover, you could be dealing with one or more of the above issues. For an accurate diagnosis and water heater repair, contact a plumbing contractor.
For more information on water heater repair, contact a professional near you.