‘Tis the Season for Hot Water Issues
On a cold and icy day, there is nothing that beats that chill like a nice, hot, steamy shower. All that wonderful steam warming your body and the water pressure beating against your back. It’s absolute heaven.
But suddenly, you’re the star of your very own horror film as the hot water issues start. The water begins to get cold, small icy drops start falling on your skin, and suddenly it’s a mad dash to finish up and get out! The quicker, the better, otherwise you’re left right where you left off – freezing.
Plumbing issues change with the seasons. New weather can bring up new problems. Those problems could be catastrophic and leave your home with lasting consequences. Maybe you’ve had your water heater inspected, you’ve had everything checked out. Things should be good to go and you should not be having hot water issues at all. So why does it seem like your water is growing colder quicker?
Simply put: Winter finds a way.
What’s Going on with Your Hot Water Tank?
There could be a few factors that are causing your shower to deliver icy, frigid water. It can stem from where your hot water tank is placed, to its pipes, or the running condition of the tank itself. All of these factors can play a role in the hot water issues you are experiencing.
- Is it in the Basement or Garage? Certain parts of the house may not be as exposed to heat as other rooms are. In a basement or a garage, the environment tends to be colder. When that happens, the water left in your hot water tank can grow colder faster if not used regularly. This creates more standing heat loss. If left to sit and grow colder, it can take your heater extra time and energy to start heating back up again. Heaters work harder in the winter.
- Are the Pipes Overtly Exposed? Plumbing challenges and hot water issues change depending on the season. The sub-zero temperatures winter tends to bring means your pipes are at a larger risk of having the water freeze. How many of your pipes are exposed? Do they travel outside the home or stay inside? Hot water tanks can only do so much as hot water winds the way through a maze of pipes throughout the house. In other words, if your pipes are old or exposed to the environment, then the traveling water will only get colder and colder before it reaches your faucet.
- Broken or Cracked Pipes…or Boiler? Another key point to realize about pipes is that when things get too cold, pressure is placed on the pipes. That pressure builds up and can end up cracking or entirely breaking a pipe. When that happens you won’t just have icy water to contend with, you’ll have a glacial flood in your home. Over 250,000 Americans experience property damage by pipes burst every year. Just a ⅛” crack can leak over 250 gallons per day! You could have your ice arena right in the middle of your basement! Or worse – burst pipes could potentially flood the entire home, not just the basement or garage.
What Steps Can You Take to Prevent Hot Water Issues?
Luckily, for every problem, there is a solution. There are a few steps that you can take to guard against Jack Frost’s icy touch and retain some of that hot water. Here are some simple do-it-yourself tips to keep in mind this winter.
Insulate Your Exposed Pipes
Moreover, if you cover those exposed pipes, this will more than likely do the trick and save you a bit of hot water in the process. We’ve found a great blog here that details the steps you need to take to keep those pipes bundled up tight during the winter to help prevent hot water issues. You can use anything from cloth, electrical tape, or insulation sleeves to get the job done quickly and easily yourself.
Let the Faucet Drip
There’s an easy trick to keep your pipes from freezing, which will help prevent hot water issues and potential damage to your home. And if you can keep those pipes from freezing, you can keep them from bursting. This especially works well in older homes. There’s no need to buy anything extra from a store, and it doesn’t take a plumbing expert to give you a hand. All it takes is a little running water; turn on your faucet and let a small amount of water trickle out of it when you know it will be especially cold. A continuous stream of water, no matter how small, can keep the water from settling in your pipes and freezing over.
Cover Your Hot Water Heater
If your water heater is in the basement or garage, where it tends to stay cooler than the rest of the house, there’s a neat easy-to-do trick you can pull. With this in mind, try keeping warm air circulating through that part of the home. If you keep this area of the house at 55 degrees, at a minimum, it will help save your heater from working overtime all the time. However, sometimes even a well-placed portable heater can’t get the job done. No worries though! Why not a blanket for your heater? You use one, so why not use one for the heater? Additionally, there are specially made heater blankets that help insulate the tank! This way you can keep your heater warm and toasty, preventing hot water issues when the temperature dips.
Keep Your Home and Your Water Warm this Winter
Nothing beats a hot shower on a cold day, especially if you’ve spent time outside shoveling the show. Don’t let Jack Frost win by stealing all that heat from you! All it takes is a little preemptive planning and a bit of quick wit to make sure that your water stays nice and warm when you want it to.
No more timing your showers to avoid an icy spray!