How Long For Hot Water To Come Back?

Here are the quick answers to your questions if you are in a hurry:

We’ve all been there — you turn on the water tap to begin your hot shower and nothing comes out.

You have no idea how long you have to wait, so you begin timekeeping in the hope that it soon returns to normal.

However, it can be difficult to know how long to wait for the hot water to come back if this type of situation happens — but it doesn’t have to be.

A hot water service interruption, or even a temporary slow down in flow, can be frustrating. But you would be glad to know you’ve come to just the right place.

We will look at hot water heaters and how they compare to each other in terms of heating time.

Why Does Hot Water Run Out?

Have you ever wondered why your hot water suddenly runs out, even though your cold water is still flowing?

Most people assume it’s a plumbing problem, but it could be an issue with your water heater. Here are common reasons why it could be running out:

  1. Sediment has managed to build up. When you have sediment buildup at the bottom of the tank, there is less water available for heating.
  2. A broken dip tube. The dip tube’s purpose is to direct incoming cold water to the bottom of the tank, increasing the efficiency of the heating system. If it becomes faulty or fails for any reason, water will be mixed up anyplace inside the storage tank, lowering the heater’s performance.
  3. The thermostat is broken. The water heating components are directed to heat your water via thermostats inside the tank. Your hot water is jeopardized if the thermostats that control those heating elements malfunction.
  4. Your water heater can’t keep up with demand. Here are some helpful tips for that situation:
  • Maybe you’ve just installed a dishwasher in your home. But, your water heater can’t satisfy your requirements anymore. To keep up with the increased water demands, replacing it with a larger heater or adding an extra heater is an excellent choice. Instead, you might want to consider purchasing a tankless heater.
  • If you’ve had your heater for a long period, it may be time to get a new water heater. If it’s over ten years old, it’s probably no longer fit for purpose. At this time, upgrading would be a sensible move.
  • Low thermostat setting. Turn it up! Perhaps the water is lukewarm, so you leave it running, wasting a lot of hot water. Just make sure the water is kept at a safe temperature.
  • Inadequate insulation or leaks. If the system or the pipes supplying the water to the tap are not appropriately insulated for your area, or if they are leaking, this might cause issues, which you should address as soon as possible.
  • Hot water is being used by other appliances. Consider running your dishwasher or washing machine at night or when you don’t need hot water for bathing, showering, or at the sink if you need hot water.
  • Installing a special low-flow showerhead to lessen your overall hot water usage if you notice it tends to run out too quickly.
  • The pilot light has gone out. You know how frustrating it can be to be when you’re in the shower and have the hot water run out on you. Relighting the pilot light is all that is required to resolve this issue.

Is there a tankless water heater in your home? While it is less prone to the challenges we’ve discussed so far, faults like a poorly installed heater or even an interrupted power supply can cause your hot water to run out too quickly.

The most common cause of hot water service interruptions is hot water tank leaks and/or sediment build-up in your hot water tank.

A professional plumber can check for and repair any water or gas leak, remove any sediment build-up in the tank and check for other issues that may be causing the problem.

Factors That Affect How Long It Takes to Come Back

The best way to find out how long you need to wait to get hot water again is to look at your water heater’s information sheet. However, if you don’t have this information, don’t worry.

The main thing to look at is the size of your water heater.

Unfortunately, heating water is not an exact science, as many factors can influence the hot water wait time.

For example, the average hot water wait time for a tank with 10 gallons of water (which is a relatively small tank) is about an hour, whereas a 50-gallon tank has a wait time of about an hour and a half.

In addition, the outside temperature, the number of people using hot water, the size of the tank, and other factors will also affect the amount of time.

The best way to tell if the tank needs to be replaced is to go through the steps listed above, and if they do not work after a few adjustments, it is time to replace the water tank.

  • Water Heater Tank Size: The larger the water heater tank, the longer it will take for the heater to heat all of the water in it, and thus the longer it will take for hot water to be released.
  • The first-hour rating: This tells you how much water your water heater can heat in one hour. As a result, the higher the first-hour rating, the faster your water heater will heat up and discharge hot water.
  • Temperature Difference: Users can specify a certain hot water temperature. The temperature differential refers to the difference in temperature between the entering water or tank water and the temperature desired by the consumers. The larger the temperature differential, the longer the heater will take to heat the water.
  • Different fuels: Water heaters use a variety of fuels, including electricity, gas, and even solar energy. For a better understanding, we’ll go through the different types of water heaters and their recovery times in the next part.

Other minor factors that can affect the recovery time include the age of the water heater, the diameter of the water supply pipe, and the distance from the water heater.

Type Of Water Heater

A hot water heater is a term that is used to describe a device that heats water to a temperature at which it becomes usable.

Water heaters can be found in all homes and buildings, from one-bedroom apartments to an office or commercial buildings.

However, not all water heaters are the same, and just like most appliances and technology devices, water heaters come in different types.

Tankless Water Heater

Tankless water heaters use super-heated coils to create instantaneous hot water. They give the possibility of instant hot water.

These coils fill up with water as soon as you turn on the faucet, providing virtually infinite hot water for your home.

If you have a gas tankless heater, your hot water will come back as soon as gas service is restored.

This is because tankless heaters heat water on demand; meaning they only heat the water when you need it. The two most common types of tankless heaters are electric and gas.

Solar Water Heater

Solar water heaters are an eco-friendly option since they rely on the sun’s energy.

They work by transferring energy through a closed-loop system from roof-mounted panels to the water tank, which then warms the water.

Off-grid living has many perks, and one of those is never having to worry about losing hot water during a power outage.

The only downside is that it may not heat any water when the weather has been overcast for a while such as during winters.

Electric Water Heater

Electric water heaters are one of the most common types of water heaters. They have a large insulated tank for storing and warming water.

An electric water heater will not be affected by the cold weather at all. They will continue to work just as well as they always have.

So if you were worried about your hot water being cut off during a power outage, don’t be! If you have an electric tankless heater, your hot water will come back as soon as power is restored.

When compared to their gas equivalents, electric tank water heaters require double the amount of time (60-80 minutes) to heat the same amount of water up.

While electric elements are typically less expensive, they simply cannot match the great performance of gas-fired systems.

Gas Water Heater

A gas water heater is a tank that uses a gas-fired burner at the bottom to heat the water. Hot water rises from the bottom to the top, where it is taken off by a discharge tube.

Using natural gas is cheaper than electricity and a supply of gas is more reliable.

If you have a power outage, your gas supply won’t be affected. Also, when the water tank runs out of hot water, a gas burner heats your next batch of water faster than an electric heater.

Once water is in the tank, a basic gas tank water heater takes 30 to 40 minutes to heat it. When new water from your water supply is fed into the tank, it begins to heat up.

For more types feel free to check out this article.


We hope that this post has answered some of your hot water heating questions.

If you’re still stuck or have a problem that hasn’t been addressed here, contact a professional plumber in your area or get advice from an electrician if the problem involves the circuit board.

If you have any queries, please post them in the comments section below.

by Richard Kelly

Having experienced significant success as a house flipper, I am often approached with questions about all things home improvement. That’s why I decided to start this site. My objective is to share all of the insights I have accumulated over the years so other people can design the homes of their dreams.