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Why is My SLC Hot Water Coming in Varying Temperatures?

There are a few things no homeowner ever wants to deal with when it comes to their plumbing and related systems, and one of these is varying temperatures in what's supposed to be hot water. Many of us have experienced that burst of cold water during a hot shower -- not only is this uncomfortable and annoying, it may signal an issue in your water heater or some related area of your plumbing system.

At My Buddy the Plumber, we're happy to assist clients throughout Salt Lake City and other parts of Utah with all their water heater needs, from the installation of modern tankless water heaters to water heater repair, replacement and several other services. What are some of the possible culprits for your hot water heater producing water of varying temperatures, and what can be done about them, either on your own or with the help of our plumbers? Here's everything you need to know about managing this issue.

hot water varying temperatures

Water Heater is Too Small

In some cases, such as if you've begun to notice this issue soon after having a new water heater installed, the problem may be that your water heater is too small for your needs. Sadly, this is a common issue among less reputable water heater installation companies, as they may try to sell you a smaller model in an effort to cut costs. If your new water heater is too small, it will have difficulty keeping up with demand, especially if multiple people are using hot water at the same time in your home.

The Solution: The best solution for this problem is to simply replace the water heater with a larger one. This isn't always possible or practical, however, so you may need to find ways to reduce your hot water usage if you're stuck with a smaller water heater.

One way to do this is by insulating your pipes, which will help maintain heat and reduce the amount of energy your water heater needs to expend to keep the water at a consistent temperature. Another is to take shorter showers, which will obviously use less hot water overall. Lastly, you may want to invest in a water heater blanket, which helps insulate and protect your water heater, keeping heat in and allowing it to work more efficiently.

Water Heater is Too Old

In other cases, the source of the problem may be that your water heater is simply too old. Over time, all water heaters will break down and become less effective at doing their job, and if yours is more than a decade old it may be time for a replacement.

The Solution: The best solution for this problem is also to replace the water heater with a new one. This will obviously come at a cost, but it may be worth it in the long run as you'll have a water heater that functions properly and efficiently for years to come.

If you're not ready or able to replace your water heater just yet, there are still some things you can do to try and improve its performance -- though these will really be Band-Aids on a larger issue, and won't completely solve the problem. Again, you can insulate your pipes to help retain heat, or invest in a water heater blanket for extra insulation. You may also want to flush your water heater on a yearly basis to remove sediment build-up, which can impede its performance, and have it serviced by a professional every few years -- but in all honesty, the costs here will add up so quickly that it's usually preferable to just replace the item.

Valve Issues

A vital set of components for any water heater is your pressure-balancing valves, which help to ensure a consistent water temperature by opening and closing as needed. If these valves are damaged, however, they may not work properly, leading to the varying water temperatures you're experiencing.

The Solution: The best solution for this problem is to have a professional plumber take a look at your water heater and determine if the pressure-balancing valves need to be repaired or replaced. This is a relatively simple and straightforward job for a plumber, and should only take a few hours at most.

Inverted Temperature Knob

A less likely issue, but one that also may arise due to improper installation, is that the temperature knob on your water heater may be installed backwards. While this may sound like a silly thing, it can actually cause big problems as it will make it very difficult to get your water heater to maintain a consistent temperature.

The Solution: The solution for this problem is also relatively simple, and just requires a professional plumber to come out and flip the temperature knob around so that it's installed correctly. This is a quick and easy job that shouldn't take more than an hour or so, and once it's done you should have no further issues with varying water temperatures.

Improper Tankless Heater Installation

Finally, yet another issue that traces back to installation is that your tankless water heater may not have been installed properly. If the intake or output pipes are too small, or if they're not properly insulated, this can lead to the unit not being able to heat the water properly, resulting in those annoying bursts of cold water.

The Solution: The best solution for this problem, once more, is to hire a professional plumber to come take a look at your tankless water heater and determine if it was installed properly. If not, they'll be able to fix the problem and get your water heater working as it should.

For more on the possible causes of varying temperatures coming from your water heater, or to learn about any of our plumbing or HVAC services in SLC or nearby areas, speak to the staff at My Buddy the Plumber today.

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