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Trucon01 01-12-2012 11:47 AM

50 Gal water heater, 10-15 min shower?
Hi All,

I do not have the specs handy, but thought I was ask first. I have a 50 gal GE water heater in a house that I just bought (old construction).

When we take a shower, the hot water is gone in about 10-15 min with only 1 shower going. The shower head is one of those rain like heads that comes with a hand wand and has 6 jets on the metal unit hanging on the wall.

Is this just a junk water heater or are we using all 50 gallons?

Minich 01-12-2012 11:56 AM

Grab a 5-gallon bucket and a watch, and in 10-15 minutes you'll know your answer.

Trucon01 01-12-2012 12:02 PM

If it has a low first hour number, should I just get a much better 50 gal or should I just get one of those Marathon 105 gal units from HD?

TarheelTerp 01-12-2012 12:10 PM


Originally Posted by Trucon01 (Post 820486)
I have a 50 gal GE water heater in a house that I just bought...
I do not have the specs handy.

Some specs to get:
what sort of water quality do you have (minerals etc) ?
what is the raw water pressure to the house like (PSI)?

what is incoming water temp?
what is outgoing water temp?
what is the flow rate (GPM) through the shower head?
what temp water = "hot shower"?

how old is the WH?
has it EVER been serviced (flushed)?

Trucon01 01-12-2012 12:16 PM

Great. I'll get those tonight and post in the morning.

jfrotten 01-12-2012 12:45 PM

Is it a double element electric water heater by any chance?

joecaption 01-12-2012 12:47 PM

That would have been my first guess, one of the elements is blown.

Edgar214 01-12-2012 03:46 PM

If the water heater has some age the dip tube could be cracked and/or broken. This doesn't allow the cold water to go to the bottom of the tank to be heated.

Furd 01-12-2012 07:07 PM

A tank-type water heater will only supply about 70% of its rated volume (about 35 gallons in your case) before a significant drop in the output temperature occurs.

You can effectively increase the amount of hot water by raising the temperature of the tank and then blend in more cold water at the point of use. The downside to this is that you significantly increase the risk of being scalded by the straight hot water and it will cost more to heat the water. Installing a tempering valve (which mixes cold water with the hot as soon as it leaves the tank can reduce the risk of scalding while increasing the effective amount of hot water but the increased cost of operation will remain.

Trucon01 01-12-2012 07:10 PM

This is the water heater I have:

Trucon01 01-12-2012 08:56 PM

So I just checked the temp settings (There are 2, top and bottom). The top was set at 125 and the bottom was set about 5-10 degrees lower. I just set them both to around 130, so we will see what happens.

Msradell 01-12-2012 09:29 PM

My guess would be that with all those heads you're probably using all the water in that length of time.

Trucon01 01-12-2012 09:37 PM

No, we have 3.5 bathrooms and its just my fiance and I. And ever since we bought the house in April, we've only used the one shower in the house, never 2 at a time. I'll see what the temp change does. If all else fails, we are remodeling the basement and I will just put in one of these bad boys, 105 gallon.

jfrotten 01-13-2012 08:11 AM

Shut off the power, remove the wires to both elements and check for continuity. You should have continuity between the two screws on each element and you should not have continuity between any one screw and the tank itself. If any of these things do happen, you have a bad element. My guess is that your bottom element is bad our your water temp was just set too low...

Trucon01 01-13-2012 09:47 AM

I truly appreciate everyone's help thus far!! This morning for the shower, I noticed that I didn't have to turn the nob as far towards hot to take a shower. Maybe just turning the temp up on both elements did the trick... Thanks again for taking the time to help me!!!

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