Why does hot water take so long?

Why does hot water take so long?

How long can you wait for hot water?

Why does it take so long to get hot water to my sink and shower? In our hurried lives these precious minutes spent waiting can seem eternal. 


Most wait time issues have to do with the distance from the hot water heater to the faucet or shower you are using. In some cases, it can also be caused by the water line being in an uninsulated area where the pipe needs time to warm up. If you are building or renovating, here are some options that you can consider which will reduce the wait time.


The most effective option is to install a water heater closer to the new bathroom. In some cases where access is limited to run new lines, or the demand is going to rise, this may be the most effective way to proceed. The options include an electric second water heater (ok for the office kitchen or one bath) or the installation of a very efficient gas powered on demand heater that never runs out. Electric heaters will cost about $1k installed while a good quality on demand unit will be over $5k. If you never want to run out of hot water and you need a second source, the on demand unit won’t let you down and uses 100% of the energy.


Another option we often recommend when we have good access is a recirculation line. A hot water line is looped to the farthest appliance and can also add other locations in the loop if there is access. This can be done passively with no mechanical pumps (and with less satisfaction as it relies on some consistent use and good pipe insulation). Mechanically a pump that circulates hot water from the source to a bath that is further downstream keeps the water moving and when you turn on the faucet… ta da! Recirculation lines add $300-$1,000 onto the budget depending on which type and distance.


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