We all want hot water in our showers. No matter how much evidence points to the health benefits of cold water showers, we all want our showers to be hot. Or, at the very least, warm enough for us to fall asleep in.
What we don’t want is a ten-minute wait for the shower to heat up, though.
If you’re like most people, you turn on the shower and then do a couple of other menial tasks while waiting for the water to get to the right temperature. Not only is that a huge waste of time, but it’s also incredibly wasteful. Estimates using modeling data by the EPA claim that nearly 280 million gallons of water are wasted every day by people waiting for the shower to heat up. That adds up to a significant chunk of money out of your pocket every year.
The reasons are pretty simple. One of them is simply distance. If your shower is far away from your hot water heater, the hot water will take several extra seconds to travel to your outlet. Not much you can do about that except move the water heater directly inside your shower (which isn’t possible, by the way). Another reason is that you may have a low volume restrictor placed on your shower that can impede water delivery on time. You won’t want to remove them, but it may be one possible reason why your hot water isn’t delivered as quickly as you would like.
Alternatively, two other issues that may impact hot water delivery are an old water heater that is going out or sediment build-up inside the tank. Water heaters, on average, last about ten years, so if yours is around that age, it’s a good idea to get it checked on. Sediment build-up inside the tank can eventually damage your water heater, but in the short-term, it can also cause enough water to be displaced that it takes longer between uses to restore the hot water inside the tank, making delivery take longer. A good flush should help restore some speed.
What Can You Do?
If your tank is operating properly, there are still a few options you can take to speed up how fast your shower gets to temperature.
First, you could install a hot water recirculation system. This device is mounted next to your faucet or even straight on to the water heater, and operates based on a timer or even a thermostat. When water is used, it moves it back towards the heater and moves the hot water closer to the faucets, allowing for much quicker delivery.
Another option is to invest in a tankless water heater. The benefits to going tankless are many, but they’re not right for everyone – the cost of buying and installing one may not be made up in water savings, depending on your water bill. Still, if you’re determined to get your water delivered faster, a tankless water heater can be a good investment since the water will be heated right when you need it instead of sitting in a tank for hours or even days. If the fixture is far away from the heater, you may notice much of a difference, but there are smaller units you can place underneath a sink or next to a shower that heat the water near instantaneously. Another bonus of tankless water heaters? Virtually unlimited hot water, unlike a tank of hot water that stores it up and has a finite amount.
If you’re willing to swallow the cost of some added equipment in your house, you can greatly reduce the time it takes for hot water to appear out of your shower. And once you factor in the amount of money you’ll save on your water bill over time, added to the decreased frustration factor of waiting for water, you may find out that it’s more than worth it.