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Commonly Reported HVAC Problems:

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Running out of domestic hot water quickly:

Here is a common complaint...

"We used to be able to take two or three showers without running out of hot water. Now we can't even make it through one".

Does that sound familiar? Well, there are several different ways of heating hot water for domestic use, and each presents its own unique set of issues. Here are some of the different types of systems:

  1. Electric Hot Water Heater
  2. Gas or Oil-fired Hot Water Heater
  3. Indirect Hot Water Heater
  4. Tankless coil inside of a gas or oil-fired boiler
  5. Electric Hot Water Heater w/Off-Peak Storage

Listed below are different types of Hot Water Heating Systems, along with possible causes for running out of hot water.


Not Enough Hot Water...

1. Electric Hot Water Heater - This is usually due to a bad lower heating element. And if that is the case, it is wise to replace the upper element as well. They are fairly inexpensive. If only the upper element is bad, then you wouldn't have any hot water at all, because the upper element charges first.

Another cause would be a bad lower thermostat. Sometimes they stick open. This is much easier to repair because no draining of the tank is necessary. Once again, another inexpensive repair.

2. Gas or Oil-fired Hot Water Heater - We really don't see this complaint with these types of Hot Water Heaters. Once in a while the thermostat can go bad or there could be low gas pressure. But you usually have hot water or none at all if there is a problem.

3. Indirect Hot Water Heater - What is this, you ask? This is if you have a hot water boiler for heating, with a zone that heats up a large storage tank for domestic hot water use. A thermostat on the tank sends a signal to a circulator, which sends the hot boiler water to the tank, which heats up the domestic hot water.

If you are running out of hot water with this type of system, it's possible that the thermostat is set too low or it's faulty. There could also be a bad circulator or circulator relay, or the zone could be air-bound - requiring purging.

4. Tankless coil inside of gas or oil-fired boiler - If you have a tankless coil in your boiler with no storage tank and you have a large demand for hot water, then maybe you should consider adding a storage tank.

But if you are suddenly running out of hot water with no changes in your usage, then there could be a problem with the boiler itself. The tankless coil could be blocked but usually this would also cause a reduction in hot water pressure. If that is the case, a plumber would be needed to acid-wash the coil or replace it.

5. Electric Hot Water Heater w/Off-Peak Storage System - This would be the same as a normal electric hot water heater, so check that heading. Remember though, with off-peak storage systems, your hot water heater only charges at night and weekends and holidays, unless you overide it.

Please keep in mind that the information found on our website is provided free of charge and Hannabery HVAC does not assume any liability resulting from the information we provide. We hope this information helps, but please note that these are just rough guidelines, and not all possible situations are covered. Your HVAC system should be inspected and repaired by a trained technician.

Commonly Reported HVAC Problems

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