There’s nothing better after you’ve been outside chilled to the bone than coming in to take a hot shower. The hot water warms you right up and those achy bones feel better immediately. There’s nothing worse however, than when it takes excessive time for your water to heat up. Not only are you sitting there freezing, but you’re wasting water and money as well.

Why it Takes Water So Long to Heat Up

There are a number of reasons why it might take your water longer to heat than it should. Recognizing some of these issues upfront can go a long way to resolve the problem.


Perhaps the problem with heating your hot water is simply a matter of distance. The farther water has to travel from your water heater to your faucet the longer it takes to heat up. When first turning on your water, it’s also important to remember that residual water from the last use has to be flushed out before the water temperature will increase. If distance is indeed the issue, you may need to reinstall the water heater to a location that is closer to your water fixtures. In this situation, a tankless water heater could be a good option for your home.

Sediment Buildup

Over time, heavy minerals like calcium and magnesium build up in the bottom of your water tank displacing hot water already stored. This causes water to take longer to heat up and increases the time it takes to refill the tank after each use. For this reason, it is important to regularly flush your hot water heater. Calling a plumber to do this on a yearly basis can add valuable years to the life of the water heater and also provides a perfect opportunity to perform any other necessary maintenance.

Low Volume Restrictor

It might be worth testing the volume restrictor on each of your fixtures to make sure they are properly calibrated. If the restrictor is set too low, it is likely that the delivery of hot water will be delayed or unable to reach the desired temperature.

Failing Water Heater

If your water heater is more than 10 years old or hasn’t been regularly maintained, it may be failing. If this is the case, it is best to call a plumber and have them perform some diagnostic tests. If the fix isn’t simple, it may be time to replace your water heater entirely.

How to Get Your Water to Heat Up Faster

If you’re experiencing issues with your water heating slowly or not reaching proper temperatures at all, there are a number of possible solutions.

Tankless Water Heater

Most traditional water heaters store water in a tank that is drawn from when water is turned on and takes time to refill after each use. Tankless water heaters are becoming increasingly popular and can completely alleviate waiting for hot water. Tankless water heaters heat cold water instantaneously as it passes through a heating mechanism on its way to the water fixture. Because no water storage is required, you won’t have to waste water waiting for it to heat up. This is not only great for the environment but can save you money on your water and heating bills each month. Tankless water heaters are roughly the size of fuse box, can be mounted on a wall and have a shelf life of up to 20 years compared to only 10 years of a traditional water heater.

Water Recirculation Systems

Water recirculation systems also reduce the amount of water and time needed for hot water. By recirculating used water directly back to the heater, hot water is kept close to faucets at all times. Water recirculation systems can be mounted near faucets or directly on the water heater. Most systems are easily regulated by a timer or thermostat allowing you to save money on water and heating bills by only using hot water when you need it.

Water that heats too slowly or not at all is a common problem for many households, especially those with older water heaters. The good news is that there are a number of relatively simple and cost-efficient ways to both diagnose and treat the problem that may not involve replacing your entire water heater. If you’re tired of freezing while waiting for your water to heat up, call an experienced plumber to help.

Categories: Home & Garden