We all know the frustration of slow hot water. We stand at the sink to wash our hands, and we finish the task just as the water begins to warm. Or maybe it’s the shower that gets to you. You’re ready to jump in, but you either have to wait out the cold water in the shower or in the cold air outside the shower. What is it that causes the delay between request and receipt? What is it that makes the hot water take so long?
Water in the pipes – The first element in delayed hot water is actually the water currently in the pipes. If you have a hot water tank, it keeps a reservoir of hot water ready and waiting. But before you can access this hot water, the system needs to flush the water that has been sitting in the pipes not being heated.
Length of pipes – The length of your pipes between the water heater tank and the faucet you are using will also play a role in the amount of time needed to get hot water. The longer the pipes, the longer it will take for the hot water to travel to your location.
Size of pipes – The wider the pipes, the longer it will take for hot water to get to you. Wider pipes require greater volume per inch lengthwise of piping, thus slower delivery.
Type of pipes – The type of pipes used also affects hot water timing. Galvanized pipes are thicker than copper pipes. As a result there is more metal that can leech heat from the water traveling through.
Weather – Believe it or not, the weather can affect how quickly you get hot water to your faucet. The ambient temperature of the air around your pipes affects the temperature of the pipes themselves. On cold days, it takes longer for the water to heat the pipes, and keep enough heat to feel warm to you.