Hot Water Ottawa

Why Is My Hot Water Only Lukewarm?

Mom and daughter washing hands in lukewarm water

Which type of person are you? The kind who takes a bracing hot shower to get pumped for work in the morning – or – the kind who likes to relax in a spa-style hot bath at night?

Either way, you’re bound to be disappointed when you turn the tap and find your hot water is only lukewarm. Nooooo! Why is this happening and how can I fix it fast?

1. Your Breaker Has Tripped

Do you have an electric hot water tank? If so, check for a tripped breaker that’s cut off the power supply to your water heater. (The water stored in the tank won’t turn freezing cold all of a sudden; instead, it will gradually cool from hot to lukewarm.)

Try resetting the breaker… and be prepared to wait, because it’ll take a while for that water to heat back up. If the breaker trips once again – or the water heater won’t switch back on – either your heater or your home electrical system likely needs repair.

2. There’s a Problem with Your Thermostat

First, check your thermostat to make sure it’s at the right temperature and no one has “helpfully” lowered the setting.

If the temperature is correct, the thermostat may have failed. Fortunately, that’s an inexpensive replacement. Since many tank hot water heaters actually have two thermostats, be sure that you replace them both with a technician.

3. Mineral Sediment is Blocking the Heating Element

Minerals from your water supply often settle as sediment at the bottom of your hot water tank – exactly where the heating element is commonly located. This mineral buildup tends to interfere with the heating process and keeps the water from being heated beyond the lukewarm stage. It can also cause your water heater to make popping sounds or the water to overheat, resulting in water that’s way too hot.

There are two possible solutions here. First, have your hot water tank drained once a year to flush out the sediment. Second, install a whole-house water softener to remove minerals from your home plumbing system.

4. One Immersion Heater is Not Doing its Job

Your hot water tank relies on a pair of immersion heaters to warm the water supply. If one of them malfunctions, the remaining heater will not be able to heat the water to your temperature setting. Instead, it will only be lukewarm.

Find a knowledgeable technician who can repair or replace the defective immersion heater.

5. The Dip Tube Has Broken

A small part with a big job, the dip tube channels cold water from your home plumbing pipes down toward the bottom of your water heater, to be warmed by the heating element. A damaged dip tube may simply deposit the incoming water near the top; from there, it will be piped back out to your home’s faucets before it has had a chance to heat thoroughly.

Because a broken dip tube generally cannot be fixed, you will most likely need to install a new water heater.

6. Your Water Heater is Getting Old

As your water heater nears the end of its service life (8-12 years for tanks and up to 20 years for tankless), its performance tends to decline. This means it simply won’t heat water as well as it used to.

Now is the time to start shopping for a new, energy-efficient water heater as a replacement.

Hot Water Ottawa Will Help

The name sums it up! Hot Water Ottawa is your source for expert hot water services in the Ottawa area. We offer reliable, professional water heater repair of any make or model – tank or tankless.

If you’re looking for a water heater replacement, talk to us about water heater purchase or rental. We’ll help you find the best option for your home.