Expecting Guests? How to Ensure Everyone Has Hot Water

Many homes and apartments have water heaters that barely hold enough hot water for their households. Family members and roommates may have to fight for the right to a hot shower.

When guests arrive, the situation worsens. Hosts want to accommodate their guests, but they don't want to consign themselves to a cold shower.

Don't know how to make everyone happy? Below, we've given you all the tips you need to ensure you and your guests have a hot shower.

Strategy One: Scheduling

Sometimes you have to adjust your showering schedule to optimize hot water usage. Your options include:

Taking shorter showers: Do you normally shower for 30 minutes in the morning? Long, hot showers feel luxurious, and they help you wake up gradually. However, they also use a lot of hot water, which means those who shower after you will have cold water. Shorten your showering time to 10 or 15 minutes. Have your housemates and guests do the same.

Having some people shower at night/in the morning: Your water heater might keep up if people shower at different times during the day. Have some people shower at night, and others can shower in the morning. Some people's schedules will have to change to accommodate everyone else.

Waiting for the water heater tank to refill: Depending on what kind of water heater you have, it could refill or recharge within an hour or two. You can try waiting for it to refill.

It may seem inconvenient to alter your schedule or your guest's schedules, but you'll save more money with this strategy. If you can't alter any schedules, you'll have to tweak your water heater to accommodate your guests. And tweaks will cost money.

Strategy Two: Boosting Your Water Heater

If you'd rather save time and patience instead of money, you can alter your water heater instead of your schedule. We've listed your options below:

1. Add a Low-Flow Shower Head

Many shower heads allow 19 litres (5 gallons) of water to flow every minute. This means that if you have a 114 litre (30 gallon) tank, you'll use the hot water quickly, depending on your shower's temperature. Find a shower head that cuts your water usage in half. Doing this will double the available hot water amount.

2. Adjust the Temperature Setting

The higher you set your water heater's thermostat, the faster it'll heat water. This means that people can shower more often.

However, you'll have to pay more money for the higher temperature. You may also scald people if you set the temperature too high. Keep your thermostat at around 50 degrees Celsius (120 degrees Fahrenheit).

3. Add Insulation

Your water heater tank may lose heat through its sides. Add insulation so the water says nice and toasty. Just make sure that you don't cover your thermostat with insulation as well.

You should also consider insulating the pipes between the water heater and your shower, especially if those pipes run along an outside wall.

4. Clean the Water Heater

Sediment, calcium deposits, and other contaminants can fill your water heater. These contaminants can suck the heat out of your water, and they can plug your pipes. If you clean your water heater, not only will you get more hot water, but you'll boost your heater's life span as well. This will help you save money in the long run.

5. Repair Heating Elements

Sometimes a simple part replacement can give you more hot water. Examine the following parts and replace if necessary:

Dip tube: This draws water from the bottom of the tank. Without it, you can only use a fraction of your hot water.

Heating elements: These parts function as their name suggests. If they don't work, you can replace them in some models.

In others, you might as well buy a new water heater.

Thermocouple: In gas water heaters, this part ignites the burners that heat the water. You'll need it if you want a hot shower.

You shouldn't try to make these repairs or replacements unless you have experience. Otherwise, you should call your local plumbing experts.

6. Buy a New Water Heater

Sometimes your old water heater simply won't cut it. You'll need a newer, larger one if you often have guests. Buy a 200 litre (50 gallon) water heater to accommodate 4 people. Purchase a larger one if you plan to accommodate more.

However, you should only make this expense if absolutely necessary. Your local plumbing experts will install new ones for reasonable prices, but if you have a tight budget, you should try other strategies instead.

As long as you can adjust your schedule or boost your water heater, you can keep any number of guests comfortable. Use these tips to ensure everyone has a hot shower the next time you host multiple people.

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