Hot water tank running out?

Tried searching online and could not find an answer. We live in a very old house and of course in the summer it's no problem but in the winter our hot water tank sometimes runs out before we are quite ready to exit the shower. I am not sure how big the tank is, but at about 15-18 minutes you can no longer increase the temperature of the water and it slowly gets cold. My question is, does having the water at a very high temperature make the tank run out faster or is it just the amount of water the faucet puts out?

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  • Carl
    Lv 6
    7 years ago
    Best answer

    The water heater works by trying to keep a large amount of water at a set temperature. As you draw hot water out, cold water enters the tank. Water has a high heat capacity, you have to put a great deal of energy into it to raise the temperature. The gas burners only put out a limited amount of heat energy, and obviously can't keep up with the high demand of a shower. Also, in winter, the incoming water will probably be colder, so the water heater is already behind in trying to heat it.

    Your only option is to set the temperature of the water heater higher. That way, when you take a shower you would use less water from the water heater mixed with slightly more cold water, to get the desired temperature.

  • 7 years ago

    It could be a burner or Tstat. Is the water hot when you 1st turn it on? It's probably the dip tube or what ever its called broke. The outlet has a tube going down to the bottom of the tank to supply hot water. Basically, as you use hot water, cold is supplied to the top of the tank, & hot is forced up the tube. If that tube breaks you will get cold water sooner. It's usually is replaceble, if you can get it out. It is getting pretty old.

  • nosdda
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    The problem is most probably, that the cold tank, that refills your hot tank is low on water. This is the tank that also gives water pressure. The water in the cold tank is dribbling in to refill it instead of a full flow. This is because there is grit or dirt in the ball valve. Suggest you check the cold tank for any obstruction.

    Source(s): Plumber UK.
  • Anonymous
    7 years ago

    The distance water travels in pipes exposed to open air the faster it will drop temperature while it travels. In the colder winter days it decreases faster. Thermal wrap as much of the hot water pipe system you can. This will deliver warmer water faster as well. Putting it at a higher temp means it will burn longer attempting to maintain the higher setting.

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  • 7 years ago

    Insulate all the pipes and the tank and make sure the insulation pad is in place around the thermostat. Also, if the tank is older, check the dip tube and the element(s).

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    7 years ago

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