I have a water heater in my home that seems to be performing erratically.
There are 3 people in our house, and we all take hot showers at different times of day, but mostly in the morning. There is never enough hot water for more than a 5 minute shower.
However, the other day we had 2 guests staying at our house and all 5 of us took showers in the morning (probably 30-45 min apart) and we never ran out of hot water. I would guess that we each got at least a 10 minute shower.
Is there something wrong with the water heater or a part in it? The house is about 15 years old, and the water heater runs on gas.
Do you really mean there is never enough hot water or is it just on numerous occasions that there is not enough hot water?
The water heater might not be kicking on when it should. Try this: About 20 minutes before your shower, go downstairs and slowly turn up the temperature dial just two notches, wait five seconds, then slowly turn it back to where it was. (Don't do this if the heater was already running.)
There are four outcomes to take note of:
1. The heater was already on.
2. The heater went on when you turned the knob up and stayed on.
3. The heater went on when you turned the knob up and went back off when you turned the knob back down.
4. The heater did not go on when you turned the knob.
Wait 20 minutes and see if you get a good long hot shower. Keep records as to which outcomes gave you a hot shower and which did not.
If you get a hot shower after all 4 of these outcomes then there is a problem with the thermostatic element in the water heater.
I don't know how to fix this, though.
After someone got a cold shower, chances are that the water inside the tank was cool enough to make the heater kick on anyway. So with people taking showers every 45 minutes or so the tankful doesn't cool off enough between showers so someone gets a cold shower. Whereas with no one using water all night long, the first person in the morning could get a cold shower because the water coold down somewhat but not enough to kick the heater on again.
It is difficult to shop locally when the locality slaps you with a fine if you are a little slow getting back to your car.