You depend upon your hot water heater to provide you with warm water when you need it, so it can be frustrating if the water never seems quite hot enough or if it cools down quickly. Fortunately, you may be able to troubleshoot the problem on your own. The following guide can help.
Check the pilot light
If you have a gas water heater that never seems to provide hot water, the issue could be with the pilot light. Check to see if the pilot light is lit. If it has blown out, you will not get hot water. You can remedy this by relighting it. Most modern heaters have a push-button ignition, which simply means you push in the button to spark the light. If the flame doesn't burn an even blue, flickers, or goes out quickly, then there is a problem with it, and you should have it professionally inspected and repaired.
Verify the temperature setting
You can adjust the temperature on your hot water heater. The goal is to have it set warm enough so you have ample hot water to enjoy but to avoid burning yourself. This means setting it well below the boiling point! A setting of around 120 F is warm enough for a hot shower or to wash dishes by hand, without too much concern about burns.
Make sure the elements work
Hot waters heaters have heat elements inside, which can burn out. There are usually at least two. You can check to see if they are working with a multimeter. If one of the elements reads as burnt out, the fix is as simple as purchasing a new one to replace it with.
Flush the tank
When the issue is that there seems to be a shortage of hot water, this could be because hard water scale has built up in the tank to the point where the holding capacity has been lowered. The way to fix this is to flush the tank. Shut off the electricity or gas to the tank and let the water cool. Then, hook up a hose to the flush valve and route it outside before opening the valve. Run cold water through the tank after it has drained to flush out any remaining scale before hooking everything back up and heating up the water again.
For more help, contact a plumber or water heater contractor like Aggressive Mechanical Contractors, Inc. in your area.